VW 'service promise' to get radical change


VOLKSWAGEN IS to radically change the way that Irish customers experience service through their official dealerships. The Volkswagen “service promise” is a new strategy being rolled out in its dealerships in the coming weeks.

Alan Bateson, aftersales manager for Volkswagen Ireland, told The Irish Times: “Much has changed in the Irish market since 2007. Most retailers were only concerned with segment one business [vehicles of one to four years] and that was always the brunt of our business. That is no longer the case. We never thought about the older cars, but simply let them leave our franchise,” he said. “Now we intend to deliver something to customers that they haven’t seen before.”

Problems with the perception of cost and with waiting times customers experienced have been acknowledged by Volkswagen. It is hoped this will be addressed in the new policy. “A customer will now be able to be seen within a maximum of 72 hours by a retailer and in many cases that is significantly less. We have this in place since November and have seen an amazing growth as a result,” adds Bateson.

This will include a price promise, where Volkswagen will match any like-for-like written quotation using original parts, while bulbs and wipers will be fitted free of charge, saving customers around €80 in labour costs. While a bulb could cost as little as €5 and wipers just €15, labour costs in fitting these had previously been prohibitive.

Volkswagen is pointing out the significant value that comes with a branded, stamped service history when it comes time to part with the car.

“From research the rise in residual value by having a Volkswagen retailer history on your Volkswagen would be between 6 per cent and 10 per cent,” says Bateson.

Volkswagen will also offer the first 15 minutes of any service free, which will allow for small diagnostic work to be carried out at no cost. There will be a free car wash and vacuum to all customers for work that takes over an hour, but this will be available for all customers on request.

Clinics will be set up to allow customers to avail of free diagnostic services for any potential problems on their vehicles.

A range of convenience services will be offered to all customers in showrooms, including Wi-Fi access and the provision of courtesy cars at a preferential rate to all customers.

“We have provided a significant amount of vehicles to the rental market which will enable there to be sufficient amounts of vehicles to be in place for courtesy vehicles,” adds Bateson. Volkswagen has said it will add 1,200 vehicles to the rental market this year.

It has sold 60,856 vehicles since 2007 in Ireland so there is a considerable pool of customers likely to avail of this new scheme.