VW aims to achieve Tesla-like response to customer demands

One of Kleimann’s main responsibilities in the new role will be utilizing customer feedback in the further development of VW brand’s products and services.

His new business unit will create a framework to enable VW to incorporate customer requirements into future offerings more quickly and consistently.

“Currently, we are setting up the teams to pool our strengths across all our business units and to set up processes and measures that ensure the incorporation of customer feedback in our products and services,” the VW spokesperson said.

Tesla standards

Philippe Houchois, global auto analyst for Jefferies, said Kleimann’s appointment reflected VW’s aspirations to transform itself into a mobility company, rather than simply an auto manufacturer.

“As we go online to search for cars the automakers learn more about you, and Kleimann’s role is to navigate that transformation to a connected product, where the automaker will offer peripheral services,” he said. “Now that cars are connected, the relationship to their customer is much closer than it ever was before.”

A focus on customer feedback, and the ability to swiftly implement changes based on that feedback, could provide automakers with savings as they accumulate data.

“They will know if you and 80 percent of the customers who look at the configurator online look at three colors instead of 15, you can probably reduce the choice and optimize your stock,” Houchois said. “You get to the point where you know what your customers want and will do, and that allows automakers to simplify the production of their product.”

He said Tesla has set the standard for the speed with which automakers can respond to consumer demands and offer more services to customers in order to keep the experience of car ownership fresh and relevant.

“That’s how Tesla shook the industry, and that’s what Volkswagen is trying to achieve,” Houchois said. “They’ll send you stuff that is relevant and improves your car to keep it more alive. They will tailor those services to you based on what they learn about how you use your car.”

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