VOLKSWAGEN & VOLKSWAGEN…no customers’ land?


The prestigious Wolfsburg Automotive Group has in the recent year shown a clear sign of market growth in selling his robust and reliable vehicles around the world across its several very well known and strong brands. This year sales forecast versus the current turnover are electing the Group as being on the top of sales, beating Toyota’s myth for the very first time in the last recent years.

As previously highlighted there are many product strengths but, particularly, German Group long term strategy is focused to give better quality service in After Sales giving continuity on Brand image and fame in terms of customer satisfaction, always exceeding quality expectations while trying to globalize and standardize this service management across different Countries. This is what is called “The Volkswagen Market Assistance”.

However it seems this process is struggling to settle down while going through a global consolidation. Thus customers in different Countries are still experiencing different services, disappointingly I’d rather say.

There are many reasons behind this endless battle in achieving a whole successful standardization: legal, financial, cultural, social, tradition and, above all, attitude and poor management preparation (or better willing to change mentality sometime). Therefore if you (for example) get a breakdown you will definitely expect to wait no more than 1 minute on the phone, calling the Volkswagen Assistance and getting served and reassured (spending an excellent quality call in which all the issue and the technical details are religiously recorded) almost within the next 10 minutes in certain good Countries.

While in other bad Countries you get completely to the extreme and the waiting (by the way after making “X” phone calls, reminding the Service Centre you are a bit in a crappy time yet!) last up to 3 hours before getting contacted directly by the Recovery suppliers (what a delightful surprise!) without having the chance to explain what are the technical issue or leaving your vehicle records. Bit sad, unprofessional and extremely phone expensive especially if you get in trouble abroad, isn’t it?

Do not want even mention the first face to face first time contact with some after sales dealer in case of warranty issues. This is quite comic. You have the real chance to enjoy a great play hearing words like: “I am sorry but this vehicle has not been sold here, therefore you need to get back to the original dealer…” (wonder bar!…if you think maybe the car has been purchased in Italy for example and later you get a warranty breakdown in France!).

In other cases you are made to be feeling like an intruder and not really welcomed, and sometimes you are also eligible to hear sarcastic sentences or even give the opportunity to be offered buying replacement items without attempting to solve your issues (i.e. a brand new faulty tyre after 2500 km and one month and half of usage bargained for 2 different local brand new tyres – “…because of the global economy crisis, we are happy to exclusively and duly serve our Country buying only local spares…!” – due to the unavailability of the same type and brand in the market…up to one month!).

In any case we are all conscious that in all good families there are also some black sheep that regularly need to be re-routed and re-coached versus the Vision of the Organization attaining and pursuing its Mission and Values. Mistakes are surely allowed of course. Perseverance in wrong actions, nope indeed! Therefore Jack Welch philosophy (Fix it, Sell it or Close it) at some point will become indispensable as it did happen across General Electric during his first decade of command and leadership.

To recap what previously said the Wolfsburg Organization long term strategy in terms of After Sales Assistance is clear and seems pretty robust and going into the right direction. However how much time the market will be willing to wait for fixing those outstanding process failures yet like the above mentioned examples, before starting to change its mind in terms of brand and vehicle preferences?

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  1. Dear Matteo,
    I don’t completely agree with you, sorry!
    In my opinion, one Brand (in the general) is responsible for every good and in every place of the world…if it isn’t able to give service for italian customers they can leave the country, or they can sell cars cheaper without international warranty…also in this way they can be the FIRST Carmakers in the world!

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