“Combining with the Volkswagen group, yes. Standardize the customer experience of the brands, especially no! », Xavier Chardon

Auto Information : As you announce the intensification of your electrification strategy, how do you view the first studies that point to less customer loyalty to BEV models than ICE models? ?

Xavier Chardon: We are still in the opening of a market and we must be careful about jumping to conclusions. However, we have one certainty, customers who choose an electric vehicle will not return afterwards. In almost 100% of cases! Moreover, it is not impossible that these customers are less loyal to a particular brand. In fact, they are naturally open customers because they were among the first to change technology, the automotive world. They also see the offer expanding very quickly, with new entrants whose proposals may appeal. However, it’s still hard to say. For the Volkswagen brand, we are now in a better position to discuss this point at the end of 2023, as we will be able to manage the first 750 lease renewals for the ID.3.

Auto Information : In your corporate presentation for the group and its brands, you say that the Seat brand will not disappear, contradicting the statements of Wayne Griffiths and the systematic allocation of new models in favor of Cupra. Does this mean the brand will last but for new forms of mobility, two-wheelers ?

Xavier Chardon: The product plan is currently in favor of the Cupra, which benefits from strong dynamism and is well suited to 100% electric technology. The seat also has a product plan, especially in two-wheelers, with a good range of scooters, but there may also be four-wheeled vehicles, but with a different position.

Auto Information : How you want to position each brand precisely to avoid encroachment effects within the Volkswagen Group ?

Xavier Chardon: There will always be some interference as you say, but the main thing is to avoid overt cannibalization. This has not always been the case in the past, as we have seen with some ranges of SUVs where there is not enough difference between a Seat Ateca and a Skoda Karoq, for example. Therefore, we want to improve it at the level of the group and of each market where we have to carry out specific work on sociostyles. We are also looking for a more noticeable difference in terms of design, with a development like the Modern Solid at Skoda, for example. This is a permanent project, but well underway.

Auto Information : What is Volkswagen’s place in this puzzle, knowing that the brand is perhaps less legible than it used to be, in the days of Polo, Golf or Passat headlights ?

Xavier Chardon: Within the group, Volkswagen remains the reference in terms of volume in Europe and must consolidate its market positions and its image as a leader in generalist premium. Very clear.

Auto Information : At the level of the Volkswagen network in France, is stability still good? ?

Xavier Chardon: In fact, because we have a good territorial coverage, with a base of 118 investors who are both stable and highly committed to qualitative performance. As always, there may be minor changes, this is the life of a network. We are also preparing for the arrival of a new generation in business management, but there too, it is the natural order of things.

Auto Information : The agent contract continues to cause tension, even if you sometimes try to minimize its importance. Where will you be at the beginning of 2023? ?

Xavier Chardon: The signing of contracts is behind us, but as you point out, it does not remove all doubts or all tensions. There are questions within our networks, but it’s up to us to find our way back to the fluidity we had before. I believe that many doubts will be removed by using and testing a significant amount of business. Of course, we also have a role. For example, with Cupra, which is a pilot for the agent contract, we were able to improve part of the sequence with new IS tools and everything is better. It is also up to us to prove that our promises of profitability as known to our distributors are solid and reliable.

Auto Information : How do you analyze the organization in the Stellantis clusters and can you bring together several brands of the Volkswagen group in the same space ?

Xavier Chardon: We are already doing this in fact, the Douai site testifies to this, as it brings together all our brands. But it will not be systematic. We must strive to include all that is invisible, but we have no intention of standardizing everything, and especially not the customer experience specific to each brand. This applies to used car activities. But of course we work with networks to optimize the value of square meters and performance, in a shared vision, let’s underline it.

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