Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles was the UK’s second biggest-selling light commercial vehicle brand in 2017 after Ford with a 12% market share from shifting 41,474 units, which was down 8.5% on the previous year.
Zu Dohna puts the decline down to the disruption caused by the replacement of the Crafter and Amarok pick-up models as well as the expiry of a number of major fleet contracts, with the brand having pulled the Caddy out of short-cycle deals, he says.
With lower-powered 161hp manual Amaroks now available and the full Crafter range coming onboard in 2018 Zu Dohna expects the momentum to pick up again.
The manufacturer is beefing up its aftersales customer support through its dealer network with more than 60% of its 97 sites offering a degree of flexible, on-demand servicing.
It claims 15% of outlets open 13 hours a day for three days a week with 5% opening 16 hours a day for three days a week.
Volkswagen is introducing Crafter-converted mobile service clinics that can carry out work at a customer’s home or workplace and plans to have 24 in operation by the end of this year.
“We have seen a shift in mindset in dealers in that the customer doesn’t just want nine-to-five [workshop availability],” says Zu Dohna.
“Some customers said that pre-booking is what they need – and this is a minimum.”
He claims instigating a pre-booking service enables dealers to better manage their businesses without incurring too much additional cost.
Zu Dohna says that the mobile service clinics enable operators to minimise vehicle downtime and points out that they are distinct from the roadside assistance service that Volkswagen runs in conjunction with the AA.
He adds that the brand has an Uptime Focus Team based in Leeds that works on ensuring the network does all it can to get customers back on the road as quickly as possible if their vans require repairs or servicing.