Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) managing director John White has confirmed he is implementing a “new strategy” for the brand that aims at achieving a consistent sales performance though “trying to be more competitive head-to-head with mainstream competitors”.
White has admitted that the company in this country has “had an inconsistent approach to the market” that saw tactical campaigns offered then withdrawn, creating sales spikes for certain models rather than consistent volume.
The Up! sub-compact hatchback, for example, which represents the cheapest entry point to the Volkswagen range, has seen swings of between 500 and just a handful of sales per month. Likewise the Golf Mk6 has either halved or doubled monthly sales over the past year.
White candidly attributes the swings whether or not the car has a tactical campaign on for that month or not.
“I’m looking for a more consistent approach in the marketplace,” states the local boss.
“We want to be more predictable for customers. We want to be on the shopping list now, but maybe [in the past] we haven’t been on the shopping list next month.
“The markets I was in before – Canada and the US – were more consistent, and when you look at the more successful importers like Mazda or Toyota, they have a more consistent, predictable strategy.
“They always have something they’re doing. I have to acknowledge that they do that quite well, and perhaps there’s things we can learn [from].”
Currently the Up! is retailing at $14,990 driveaway, the Polo Trendline is $15,990 driveaway, the Golf 90TSI Trendline from $22,990 driveaway while the Tiguan 118TSI compact SUV has a $28,990 driveaway sticker.
“You can expect to see us to be very competitive not only from an RRP perspective but from a transaction pricing perspective [in future],” White confirmed.
Unlike the Golf, which is competitive in the small car class, the Polo (below) has never matched the sales figures of the light-car top sellers, which is also something White intends to change.
“Today we’re more aggressive with the Polo, actively,” he added.
The local boss is looking for “moderate growth” in 2014 and beyond, saying that the rapid growth the brand has experienced in recent years is due to a “fairly low base” on which to build.
A full year’s volume of the Volkswagen Golf Mk7 will also benefit, in quarter two 2014, from the addition of the wagon variant (above), which White said will mirror the range line-up of the hatchback but will be available with automatic transmissions only.
The high-performance Golf R and Golf GTI Performance Pack will also be added around the same time.
Meanwhile the Volkswagen Polo will come in for a major facelift around mid-year, but no pictures or details have yet been released of that forthcoming new model.