In May and June, Fleet News surveyed all the major manufacturers to find out how they were responding to the coronavirus pandemic, how they are supporting their fleets customers and their views on the type of impact it would have on the fleet sector.
Here is Volkswagen Cars response.
Fleet News spoke to Nick O’Neill, Volkswagen Cars head of fleet (answers as at 5/6/20)
How are you and your team staying operational in times of Covid-19?
We quickly mobilised home-working, utilising Skype and other video technology. Our sales teams have been able to adapt quickly to remote customer meetings.
What action are you taking to support fleets during the Covid-19 crisis?
From an aftersales perspective we kept our aftersales businesses open in line with Government guidance and have kept our customers and leasing partners informed of our status and capacity on a regular basis.
Also, a number of our retailers opened during the lockdown period in order to deliver/support police and other emergency service deliveries. We also maintained a proportion of our key relationship and customer-facing teams to ensure appropriate levels of support.
Will Covid-19 have a bigger and longer lasting impact on our industry than the financial crisis in 2008?
Our short-term view of the market is aligned with the SMMT forecasts. Longer-term is extremely difficult to predict but I expect certain parts of the market to contract while others will grow.
Please outline your exit strategy and how you believe the way business is carried out in future might change – the so-called ‘new normal’.
As noted above, we have worked closely with our retailer partners to develop a suite of contactless and socially-distanced processes that will allow us to continue to do business whilst social distancing measures are in place – and beyond.
We are sharing this information so that our customers and leasing company partners feel confident in our plans. In the longer term, I am confident that our incoming product line up of BEVs and PHEVs, along with the strategic developments we are undertaking, will allow us to maintain our No.1 position in true fleet.
How soon do you think fleet sales will recover after the coronavirus threat is over?
It is difficult to predict as there are a number of other key changes this year with WLTP, RDE2 and BIK changes coming into force, which will also affect the market dynamic.
Will we experience a break on the development of MaaS and fleet electrification?
No, I don’t think so. We are still heavily focussed on bringing the ID family to market, and fleet plays a core role in the delivery of our brand objectives. MaaS development will also continue apace.