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Volkswagen to “crash” in on servicing

Black circles: Making dealer service departments a one-stop shop including tyres and body repairs is on the agenda for Volkswagen in Australia.

VW plans to add body repairs and tyre sales to boost dealership service centres

Volkswagen logo19 Sep 2012


VOLKSWAGEN has revealed plans to add tyre racks and an army of panel beaters to showrooms in a bid to boost dealership revenues and keep customers happy.

VW Australia managing director Anke Koeckler says the German premium brand aims to start rolling out paint and body shops, and even tyre-fitting stations, across its network of 92 dealerships to help them better manage customers after they have bought the car – part of the customer relationship she says dealerships struggle with.

“We are looking into that for next year, to give them other business opportunities, and especially also to offer customers a first-hand service,” Ms Koeckler said.

“We have some dealerships that already offer body and paint and are offering tyres, and now we have some others that are interested.

“In Europe, this is big business and we haven’t done anything. We want to get in contact with our dealers to see if there actually might be additional business needs.”

 center imageLeft: Volkswagen Australia Managing Director Anke Koeckler

She adds that other car brands are not offering these types of services in Australia, potentially giving Volkswagen a competitive edge.

Ms Koeckler said it was is still too early in Volkswagen’s planning to provide details of how the body repairs and tyre side of the business will operate, but she will start to “share our first ideas” with dealers this Thursday before defining the next steps of Volkswagen’s strategy.

According to Ms Koeckler, the main benefit of adding a panel-beating and tyre shop to the traditional service bay is that it will put other services within customers’ reach, saving them time and effort by having small dents or scratches taken out, or even a complete set of new tyres fitted all during a regular servicing pit-stop.

“It’s a more easy life for them,” she said.

Ms Koeckler also revealed that the German car-maker is struggling to fill its service bays with skilled-up technicians, with the big-money allure of the mining boom still creating a shortfall of talent to maintain Volkswagen’s customer fleet.

Instead, the company is taking the lead of other Australian brands – including Ford – who are looking to the English-speaking Philippines to recruit service technicians.

She said Volkswagen Australia started an apprenticeship program about four years ago to train new talent to join its workforce, but there were still shortfalls.

“We have two dealers who once or twice a year are going to the Philippines,” she said.

“As long as we have the mining boom we will continue to have this challenge to retain our technicians in workshops.

“It’s not just a Volkswagen problem, it is a problem for other European brands, German brands that have similar situations.

“Someone who has been trained at Toyota can’t be put immediately on at Volkswagen because the technology is so different.”

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