Now that motor dealers can resume business, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland has outlined its plan to help kick-start things in the van segment. The brand calls it the 'Restart Strategy' and it covers several aspects of the industry, from how dealers operate to helping buyers maximise their finances. To date, Volkswagen Financial Services has provided more than 800 payment breaks for its van customers.
For new business, the brand is rolling out a 'buy now, pay later' scheme that will allow customers to avail of a three-month deferral in payments along with a deposit contribution of up to €3,500 and a competitive finance rate of 2.9 per cent. Its leasing products include a no-deposit agreement and a commercial PCP product that results in a lower monthly payment.
Move to a digital experience
Along with rolling out social distancing and sterilisation in the dealership environment, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is making it easier for more of its sales business to be done online. A new sales consultation platform enables customers to do much of the enquiry and qualification work prior to physically visiting the dealership. Similarly, sales staff will be able to provide customers with video viewings of new and used vehicles online. Furthermore, it is now possible for customers to digitally sign financial documents with Volkswagen Financial Services.
Stock and supply not a major issue
Despite the brand's factories shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic, there should not be a great deal of disruption to the supply of new vehicles now. Within the dealer network there currently exists sufficient supply to meet the likely reduced demand and, once the factories get fully up to capacity again, a delay of around six weeks is anticipated. For some models, like the Volkswagen Amarok, production has ceased, leaving only 25 units in stock for the Irish market. The new model, which will be the first VW pick-up built in conjunction with Ford, is due to debut in 2023. The arrival of the new Volkswagen Caddy, now due at the start of 2021, has also been delayed by a few months.
Impending arrival of electric Volkswagen vans
In the coming weeks, the first trials of an electric Volkswagen Transporter will begin in Ireland. This an adapted version of the existing van, developed by a company called ABT in Germany, with support from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Intended for urban deliveries and 'last-mile' journeys, the electric van will have an operating range of approximately 130 kilometres and features a 37.3kWh battery in a gross vehicle weight of 2,800kg. Pricing is expected to start at €52,600 including the applicable government grants and it will be offered in three grades.
Alan Bateson, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Director, said: "We are delighted to be back in business and look forward to making our Restart strategy a success for our customers and our retailers. Our country and business sector are in a difficult place at present, and that will not improve rapidly, so the measures we have deployed are there to assist Irish businesses and that is why we believe, together, we restart stronger.
"We have been working over the last 12 weeks to ensure we have the best offers for commercial vehicle buyers in the Irish market and what we have launched today is a demonstration of that with a number of measures not available from any other commercial vehicle manufacturer in Ireland at present. Also, our digital development will assist customers by making it even easier to discuss their needs with a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Product Expert. The market outlook is not great, but our first priority is to restart safely and put our staff and customers first and ahead of anything else. The market will recover just like Irish businesses, which were strong before and will be even stronger in the future. We are all in this together and we will do whatever we can to make sure we are there for our customers, the Irish business community."