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The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Efficiency Program

What’s your preference?

The color of demonstration vehicles and stock vehicles – and the equipment in them – should cater to customer preferences better in the future. A new software solution makes it possible.

The colors that customers like best can also be better predicted in future.

Around one in five customers settle for a preconfigured stock or demonstration vehicle whenpurchasing a new car. In other words, the customer didn’t put a Volkswagen together that meets his own preferences. For Sales and Marketing, this involves a challenge. It has to satisfy expectations of vehicles to the best possible extent to ensure that they are not left unsold at the dealership. The ­Pricing division, which works under Finances, has now launched a software program together with Sales and Marketing which allows customer preferences to be forecast considerably better than before. The upshot is that these stock and demonstration vehicles configured with the aid of what’s known as options analysis are easier to sell.

However, options analysis can do even more than this. It not only counts the actual number of equipment features, but also the combinations in which they have been ordered. This provides an overview of what stock vehicles should look like in order to better appeal to customer preferences.

The Volkswagen Data Lab in Munich is helping to take things even further. In a first step, the number of times that online car configurators have been clicked on the Internet is counted – long before a customer has even decided to make a purchase. This helps to determine which assistance systems, colors and other equipment features are popular among customers, and will be ordered from dealerships in the weeks to follow. This allows Volkswagen to preconfigure vehicles optimally and ensure that the components are available on time in production. Furthermore, in the future the software will also help to analyze millions of anonymized posts from social media channels for market trends, and to adapt product offers accordingly and use these insights for future vehicles.

As a cross-divisional initiative within the Efficiency Program, we have managed to assume a position linking Finances and Sales and Marketing faster and better,” as Uwe Baunack from Finances and Hartmut Rickel from Sales and Marketing explain. The pair shared responsibility for realizing the launch of the options analysis.

While Sales and Marketing are using this system to better determine customer ­preferences, it also helps the employees in Pricing with huge volumes of data, and
allows them to quickly run through different scenarios. “This gives us an instrument
to use across different divisions that ­minimizes ­decision-making risks, because we are able to allow for all eventualities,” Baunack says.