With the dissolution of the Das Weltauto label, Volkswagen Group France intends to increase the sale of second-hand cars. This was accompanied by the opening of a reconditioning center in Villers-Cotterêts. Xavier Chardon, the president, explained this strategy.
As we announced at the end of November 2022, Das Weltauto will disappear after eleven years of existence in France to appear under several new labels: Volkswagen Guaranteed second-hand, Skoda Guaranteed second-hand, Guaranteed second- mano seat and guaranteed second Cupra -hand (Used Audi discontinued since 2006). We met the president of Volkswagen Group France, Xavier Chardon, so that he could give us more information on this major change that will be made in the coming weeks, with a transition phase planned between April and June. “We were precursors compared to other groups who launched their label. but, when I look at the popularity of Das Weltauto today, it is very low. It is not a label with a strong presence in the market, and we have a hard time competing with leboncoin, for example. With Audi’s experience, which had a slightly different logic to begin with, we thought we could also get more leads without spending more money. “explained the leader
For him, these certifications with a badge of brand names and logos will bring more spontaneous traffic and interest on the Internet than Das Weltauto. “Customers can be assured above all by the promise of a manufacturer and more than a brand. We want to strengthen the link between the customer and the brand, use its power, its visibility”he pointed out.
Stronger Guarantee Promise
Along with this change and this return to the brand universes, the Volkswagen France group will launch an unprecedented customer promise with five-year extended warranty for all labeled passenger vehicles. However, to gain efficiency and simplicity, the labels will have a “common core”, the same back office. Only the customer journey will change, with the creation of dedicated web and POS platforms. We ensure that there is no implementation of corners, of spaces or houses are provided for this purpose, or at the discretion of the dealer. “We will act with pragmatism by maintaining the same processes and sellers of many brands, that is, we are not in the process of destroying everything, assured Xavier Chardon. We offer just a little more branding per brand and locale. »
There are three objectives: to generate a flow of qualified leads, to affiliate vehicles with their brand, to promote the brands and to reassure the customer with a stronger guaranteed commitment. Volkswagen France group wants “significant progress” in the used car business, on the side of a market that should too “mechanical resume”. Depending on how things turn out, sales may increase “double digits” or remain at a stable volume, comparable to 2022, ie 155,000 labeled used cars were sold.
It should also be noted that VGF will use the platform launch of Icare, a subsidiary co-managed with Renault and Mercedes-Benz. Thus, it will be added to the labels offer to generate an additional flow of qualified leads and will “fight the stranglehold of multi-brand platforms like leboncoin”.
A UV reconditioning unit in France
Another news should weigh the commercial and strategic balance of VGF regarding used cars, industrialization and remarketing: the creation of a reconditioning center. Or rather a small unit, as Xavier Chardon says, to be built in a building located in the historic headquarters of the manufacturer in Villers-Cotterêts, on the Aisne. A total area of 700 m2 will be requisitioned. The used car repair activity should start in the second quarter (summer 2023) under the leadership of 15 subcontracted people, trained in IT and technical tools (90 checkpoints, digital maintenance plan, etc. ).
According to the boss, the processing capacity can be between 3,000 and 4,000 units per year, a range that is likely to be reached by the end of the year. This new unit will be responsible for reconditioning old group company and employee cars from the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda and Cupra brands, most of which are between 8 and 11 months old. These used cars usually require minimal repair costs as they are generally driven by one driver and have low mileage (15,000 to 20,000 km). The workshop that will host them includes three bridges, a paint booth, an area dedicated to aesthetic preparation and a Carlab photo studio. As soon as they are photographed, used cars must sell quickly…
Low repair costs
Xavier Chardon ensures that the total investment is relatively low because the areas are their property and they were previously unoccupied. He added: “The creation of a recent second-hand reconditioning center is part of the requalification project for the Villers-Cotterêts site. We take available square meters and we are at home, so we can incorporate a new business that is more interesting. I am confident that we will deal with a relatively simple flow at the beginning, ie all the cars in the group. These models are slightly damaged, we will not enter into a very heavy task. This is why we limit investments and why we do not operate for a long time. We will offer ready-to-go vehicles in the network to save time in the value chain, sell quickly and free up after-sales capacity so dealers can better manage customers. » The manager affirms that he will not open the site to competition, unless the network can’t get the volumes and buy back the cars.