Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Ireland Director, Alan Bateson forecasts a 22% reduction in the total light commercial vehicle sales in Ireland for 2020 which would bring the overall market back to a level similar to 2015. He expects that the 2021 will not bring a huge improvement on this figure either.
With this downturn in mind and in order to maintain and if not increase market share, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland (VWCVI) has introduced a broad range of initiatives under its new RESTART strategy following the Governmental guidance that motor retailers resume sales and aftersales activities. New finance packages, a focus on used sales and preparation for new product launches has all been worked on in recent weeks.
Commenting on the current situation, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Director, Alan Bateson said; “We are delighted to be back in business and look forward to making our RESTART strategy a success for our Customers and our Retailers, our country and business sector is in a difficult place at present, and that will not improve rapidly so the measures we have deployed are there to assist Irish businesses and that is why we believe, together, we restart stronger. We have been working over the last 12 weeks to ensure we have the best offers for commercial vehicle buyers in the Irish market and what we have launched today is demonstration of that with a number of measures not available from any other commercial vehicle manufacturer in Ireland at present, also our digital development will assist customers by making it even easier to discuss their needs with a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Product Expert. The market outlook is not great but our first priority is to restart safely and put our staff and customers first and ahead of anything else. The market will recover just like Irish businesses which were strong before and will be even stronger in the future, we are all in this together and we will do whatever we can to make sure we are there for our customers, the Irish business community.”
Alan explained that the measures firstly focus on delivering best practice operations when it comes to retailer operations, their staff and their customer’s safety. VWCVI has produced a comprehensive 65-page guideline document that sets out how their retailers must operate following their reopening. Several retailers have already had visits from HSA inspectors, and thankfully there have been no issues which is a testament to the work that went into the guidelines and their deployment in the retail network.
On the finance arrangements on offer, the brand is fully aware of the difficulties Irish businesses are currently experiencing, and a sign of this is that more than 5,000 customers have applied for a payment break from Volkswagen Financial Services in Ireland since the start of the current situation. With that in mind, the brand will introduce several measures with the tagline; ‘Together, we restart stronger’.
“It will allow Irish businesses to drive their business now and pay later with a three-month deferral in payments possible, deposit contributions of up to €3,500 and low rate finance at 2.9%. They also have a three-month deferral option with no deposit required with their lease product and also a commercial PCP product that lowers the monthly repayment. The commercial PCP and commercial lease are the only ones of their kind operated by a manufacturer in Ireland,” outlined Alan.
Used vehicle sales are also critical to the success of the RESTART Strategy, and here the brand has unveiled their new Approved Used programme which again is the only comprehensive commercial vehicle used programme in the Irish market. It offers customers a minimum of a 12-month comprehensive warranty and current CVRT on used vehicles, low rate finance rates that can also be used with standard HP, PCP or Lease products and to manage the new way in which we do business in; the brand has set out that all vehicles will receive a full vehicle sanitisation and will be sealed with a steri-seal following this, a new initiative to ensure customers are confident about the vehicle they are considering purchasing.
The aftersales operations of the brand have been active throughout recent times ensuring that front line workers were prioritised and kept on the road, with the reopening on a larger scale since last Monday the brand has measures in place to provide quick turnaround on repairs and routine maintenance and also a CVRT offer for those customers who require this test to be prepared for and completed for them.
To support the RESTART activities the brand will also launch an online sales consultation platform where customers can digitally connect with a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Product Expert via the brand’s website or retailer’s website. Here they will be able to set up a virtual consultation for both new and used vehicles they are interested in and also complete finance applications and contract signing online.
New van products due include the new 5th generation Caddy, the electric eABT Transporter T6.1, eCrafter and eABT Caddy 5 plus the I.D. BUZZ from this summer to early 2022. Additional report in the next edition of Fleet Van & Utility (June).