The time of the high horse must be over. “The customer is king” is the motto at VW. New brand boss Thomas Schäfer makes customer satisfaction a top priority. Vanity is out, efficiency is in. Ten new electric models will be launched by 2026, including an entry-level electric car and a flagship. Let’s start with the rate of three euros. Since the diesel crisis, VW is no longer the carmaker it once was. “The VW brand has also suffered the consequences of the diesel crisis in recent years. But the time for licking the wounds is over. Now we look ahead and want to do better,” says VW boss Thomas Schäfer. The brand boss has now been in office for approx. 100 days, which is traditionally the time to put the first strategic brand of fragrance. “100% we focus on our customers! For the best cars and services. For the best brand experience,” says the general manager.
Good goals that only have one catch. In fact, the fact that the customer is king should be evident in a company that sells cars. The fact that the CEO set up a high-level committee called the “Board of Customers of the Management Committee” (VAC) led by Sales and Marketing Director Imelda Labbé, where “specific customer requests are discussed”, shows how far the car manufacturer of Lower Saxony has reached. from being removed from his customers and carrying proximity only in name. Now the complaints of buyers are reaching the hallowed halls of Wolfsburg and are being acted upon. That’s why VW is introducing a facelift ID.3 next year and improving, among other things, the quality of materials in the interior.
“I’ve always been told that VW is a slow-moving oil tanker. We want to break old habits and that is only possible if you have a team that leads by example,” explains Thomas Schäfer, who is also the CEO of the VW Group’s audio group, i.e. Seat , Cupra, VW commercial vehicles, Skoda. and the VW brand. A new sense of unity is coming and egos have to take a back seat. The constellation explodes if you remember that brand bosses are endowed with healthy confidence in every second. “Of course we also have debates controversial, but that is not why there is bloodshed,” explains Thomas Schäfer.
Instead of this selfishness of Wolfsburg, pragmatism should intervene. Efficiency and simplification are two words that Thomas Schäfer likes to use. It starts with production, where models are not necessarily brand-specific, but rather interactive. “The customer does not care where the car comes from. Why not build it where the tools are already arranged?” asks Thomas Schäfer sarcastically. Small successes should permeate the entire company and create a new culture. Board meetings that used to last seven hours now last four. Decisions should be made by lower levels of management. Giving up and delegating responsibilities is no longer the case. A diametrical difference to the earlier days, when individual aspects were discussed with upper management and sometimes he flew out of the room if they did not meet the requirements of the management cycle.
In 2024, Golf will receive a big change
As the be-all and end-all of every car manufacturer it is and remains a product. And the palette should be further reduced. The system that there is an heir just because there is a model is a thing of the past. “That’s nonsense,” Thomas Schäfer is clear. What? do we need a car like Arteon? Rather it is not.” Boom. Guillotine. “Do it well, make a car that customers want,” adds the VW boss. And if the car’s market launch has to be delayed because there are still problems, then so be it. Snapshots like the Golf 8’s crappy infotainment should no longer exist in the future. Cars with internal combustion engines are still in demand. So next year there will be a new Passat and a new Tiguan. In 2024, Golf will receive a big change. Whether it will be the last Golf with a regular drive depends on the severity of the production rate 7 euros which could mean the end of the limited series combustion engine due to implementation costs.
ID.7 as an electric Passat
It is clear that VW only wants to sell electric cars in Europe from 2033. The uncontrolled development of platforms will end much earlier. “The future of VW is the Scalable Systems Platform. At the end of the decade, we will converge on this for the entire model series,” Thomas Schäfer makes clear. The first car on this architecture will be the VW Trio in 2026. By then, VW wants ten new electric models on the market, including the new flagship ID.Aero in the second quarter of next year, an electric Passat that probably Identification. 7 will be called. To ensure that these vehicles are also competitive, the MEB modular system is further improved, especially the loading speed. It should reach 200 kW. “We will have the right offer in every segment,” says Thomas Schäfer. Including an entry-level electric model, the ID. 2, which should cost less than 25,000 euros. There will also be a sporty crossover brother. ID.3 should also find a derivative on stilts.
The economic objective is clearly defined. VW’s volume group accounts for 80 percent of the production of the largest car manufacturer in Europe and is expected to reach as much as eight percent. VW will invest 7 billion euros in the US by 2027. “The market share there must be five percent plus X to take a role there,” explains Thomas Schäfer. The door opener on the other side of the Atlantic should be the popular ID.Buzz, which has a big battery and a long wheel. “We should have brought the car much earlier,” admits Thomas Schäfer. Such open criticism is new at Wolfsburg.
Wolfgang Gomoll, press release
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