This morning, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland (VCVI) launched their ‘Restart’ strategy following the governmental guidance that motor retailers can resume sales and aftersales activities this week.
The all-new Volkswagen Caddy 5 will arrive this year with a more sporty appearance. It is longer, lower, wider, and has a bigger load area. Based on the Volkswagen MQB platform, which has previously been reserved for passenger cars only, the new Caddy is also reputed to be up to 12 per cent more fuel efficient than before, and will be available with a greater number of technology features.
The measures firstly focus on delivering best practice operations when it comes to retailer operations, their staff and their customer’s safety. Volkswagen Group Ireland launched 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.
Concerning the outlook, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles 25 per cent reduction in the total market versus 2019, this would bring the overall market back to a level similar to 2015. It also acknowledges that 2021 is forecast not to show a huge improvement on this number either.
The brand is fully aware of the difficulties Irish businesses are currently experiencing, and a sign of this is the more than 5,000 customers who 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’.
VCVI says that 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%. Customers will 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. VCVI boasts that the commercial PCP and commercial lease are the only ones of their kind operated by a manufacturer in Ireland.
The electric ID Buzz ‘Microbus’, is due here in 2022. The rumour in Germany is that it will indirectly replace the Touran and reinvigorate the MPV segment through ‘emotional’ design. The larger Sharan is expected to be discontinued later this year, following on from Seat’s sister-model, the Alhambra, which was recently taken out of production. The massive growth in SUV’s and the electrification of vehicles has priority for now.
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, it says is the only comprehensive commercial vehicle used programme in the Irish market. It says that VCVI 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.
It adds that and to manage the new way in which they 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. This was followed by the reopening on a larger scale since last Monday with the brand saying it 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 their ‘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 even contract signing online.
VCVI will shortly launched its first fully electric van in the Ireland with prices for the zero-emission ABT eTransporter 6.1 starting from about £52,060 (after the SEAI grant). It should be available from all Volkswagen van dealerships. It combines quiet and smooth driving, instant torque, fast charging and high load capacity for the ultimate zero-emissions urban logistics van.
The model offers a claimed all-electric range of up to circa 132 kilometres (or82 miles) with no compromise in the cargo space of 6.7m3. Flexible charging options allow for 80 per cent charge in just 45 minutes. In Ireland, expect Volkswagen to offer three trimline’s on the ABT e–Transporter, the ‘First’, ‘Plus’, and ‘Max’. They are very close to the standard T6.1 specification levels.
Commenting to us this morning, 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.”
Bateson concluded: “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”.