13.11.2015Customers to be offered big incentives to stay with VW
Volkswagen dealerships are preparing to offer incentives worth up to Â£1,500 to existing UK customers to help try and regain confidence in the firm. Following on from the news from the United States that dealerships in America were offering customers $500 in cash and $500 in gift vouchers, Autocar magazine is reporting that UK dealerships will have a similar scheme.
According to a letter that Autocar has seen addressed to VW dealerships, there will be cash incentives for existing customers trading in a VW of any age of up to Â£400 on the up! citycar, rising to Â£1,500 on the Touareg and Sharan models. Incentives of Â£1,000 will be included on all models of Golf including the hatch, estate, SV and Cabriolet, the Beetle and Beetle Cabriolet, the Passat, Scirocco, Jetta, Touram, Tiguan, Passat CC and all electric vehicles.
It is reported that the incentive is in addition to and not in replacement of any current offers as VW aims to counteract its dip in sales in October.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen's head office has set a deadline until the end of November for whistle-blowers to come forward with any information they might have on the creation of defeat device software.
Workers who contact internal investigators no later than Monday 30th November will be exempt from dismissal and any claims for damages against them. Reuters reports that a letter from head of Volkswagen Herbert Diess says: "We are counting on your cooperation and knowledge as our company's employees to get to the bottom of the diesel and CO2 issue. In this process, every single day counts."
Finally, this past week has seen a couple of key members of staff leave the company. Walter de Silva and Andreas Lampersbach have both left the VW Group by mutual consent, with de Silva retiring from his post as Head of Group Design and Lampersbach stepping down as Head of Corporate and Business Communications.
Neither will still be in their job by the end of the month with Lampersbach's the most sudden resignation. News was released on Monday 9th November that he was leaving the company with just one week's notice. Clearly the increased work load from the fall out from the emissions scandal will have played a part in his resignation since Lampersbach has been at VW for 14 years.
Hans-Gerd Bode, Head of Group Communications, Investor Relations and External Relations at Volkswagen, said:"This departure is a loss to our company. Over the last few weeks in particular, Andreas Lampersbach excelled in demonstrating his outstanding communication skills. During this critical period he showed wisdom and a sense of responsibility in his handling of communications for Volkswagen."
De Silva's resignation was not expected by those outside his confidence though it is much less surprising. It wil have the greater effect on the public's view of VW Group models though, in a very literal sense. The Italian joined the VW Group 17 years ago as head of design for Seat, producing some stylish productions and exciting concepts.
He then worked his way up the group brands with a stint in charge of the Audi brand Group - incorporating Audi, Seat and Lamborghini - before becoming Head of Group Design in 2007. His C.V. includes car such as the Alfa Romeo 156 and 147, the Volkswagens up!, Polo and Golf's Mk VI and VII, and the Audi's R8, A6 and A5 - the last regarded by him as the most beautiful car he had ever designed.
VW Group CEO Matthias MÃ¼ller, said: "Walter de Silva epitomizes creativity and the Italian sense of beauty and style on the one hand and thoroughness, a systematic approach and discipline on the other. (He) succeeded in establishing a design culture and methodology across all group brands that is unique in our industry. At the same time, he was the driving force in preserving a high degree of creative autonomy for the brands and their design departments."
Volkswagen has strength in depth but it will always be a big task to replace two such important figures within the company, merely adding to the problems it currently has to overcome.