Volkswagen is planning to evolve beyond simply being a provider of vehicles towards being a provider of fleet services, with the support of Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS).
The first step sees the UK launch this year of We Connect Fleet for cars, an app-based mini-management system already available in some European countries (and vans in the UK) that enables fleets to register multiple vehicles and access information such as location, mileage and fuel levels.
Phase two, later in the year, will include predictive maintenance and, ultimately, automated service booking at the dealer.
Volkswagen is also trialling an API link to allow larger fleets to feed the data straight into their own software systems.
“Long-term, we want to provide a full end-to-end fleet management proposition, not just the car,” says Volkswagen UK head of fleet Nick O’Neill.
He is also keen to develop a suite of mobility services in conjunction with VWFS. Within the product roadmap are subscription services and micro-lease products. Volkswagen has already “dipped a toe in the water” with several propositions, according to O’Neill. Some work, some don’t.
“However, based on what we have learnt, we believe there is a market for subscriptions,” he says.
“We also trialled We Deliver with Hermes, where online orders could be delivered to your car – a one-off code would open the boot. It’s a fantastic proposition and works well, but it’s on hold at the moment.”
O’Neill, appointed in February 2020, is optimistic for this year, buoyed by the plethora of new product due for launch.
“For us, last year was transitional; this year we have the confidence that comes with the new product family,” he says.
O’Neill is also refining the customer relationship management process with a new business development manager and by integrating the sales and customer management teams.
“We want to be renowned not just for our products, but as a responsive partner that understands customers’ needs.”