Volkswagen has announced plans to overhaul car buying at its dealership and sales organization in favor of online sales and over-the-air software updates for its electric cars.
The new VW sales model is expected to be implemented in Europe by April 2020, just in time for the debut of the automaker’s new electric ID family. The platform will allow the company to better compete with rival electric carmakers like Tesla, who already offer direct online sales and over-the-air updates.
“This is the right step at the right time,” Jürgen Stackmann, board member for sales of the Volkswagen brand, said at an event on Tuesday (October 16) in Berlin. “We have adopted this approach because our business environment is changing at a breathtaking pace in view of new technologies, changed customer expectations and new market players.”
The new sales offering will enable seamless individual support beyond vehicle purchasing. Vehicles will be kept up-to-date by over-the-air software updates via the mobile phone network. Cars will also be able to notify the dealer that the next service is due via the predictive maintenance app, and customers can access a variety of services from the Volkswagen We digital ecosystem such as We Park, We Deliver or We Connect.
People who prefer to go to a physical location will be able to choose from different points of contact in the future, including city showrooms, pop-up stores, service factories, used car centers or scalable full-feature dealerships (i.e. of variable size).
“We believe in the new business model as it will strengthen dealers’ entrepreneurial responsibility,” said Dr Matti Pörhö, president of the European Dealer Council (EDC), which represents the interests of Volkswagen dealer councils in Europe. “In the areas of digitalization and E-mobility, the major tasks for the future, dealers will play a key role. To shoulder these challenges, dealers need a firm foundation of profitability.” Pörhö praised the fair and open cooperation with Volkswagen: “We actively participated in shaping the business model right from the start.”