Economy

PRODUCT RESPONSIBILITY

Volkswagen takes a comprehensive view of product responsibility. Along with core aspects of quality and both active and passive vehicle safety, the strategic framework for our product development work is provided by three action areas from the Volkswagen Group’s environmental management system – resource conservation, climate protection and healthcare. We aim to help our customers experience comprehensive road safety and offer them a wide range of efficient, affordable and practical powertrain technologies.

“Most innovative carmaker” Award

Innovation Management

Between now and 2019, Volkswagen is set to invest the enormous sum of €85.6 billion in new models, environmentally compatible drive technologies and optimized production processes. These investments are essential to prepare us for global challenges, regulatory requirements and new customer wishes, and to extend our innovation and technology leadership. At the same time we are aiming to step up the efficiency of our crossbrand innovation management as well as networking the development processes at our brands. By creating overarching technology networks we avoid parallel developments, generate efficient technology transfer and can simultaneously reduce our development costs. In order to offer each customer a product that is not only tailored to their needs but also environmentally compatible, we are driving forward the development of solutions that range from highly efficient, eco-friendly diesel, gasoline and natural gas engines to innovative hybrid drive systems and all-electric vehicles. The decisive factor for the attainment of our corporate goals is our technological and commercial performance, which is reflected not least in our Fuel & Powertrain Strategy (see "Powertrain and Fuel Strategy“).

Our innovations are not restricted to efficient powertrains and lightweight design. We see mobility as a holistic concept and bundle our activities here under the heading of “Intelligent Mobility”. By this we mean greater efficiency, more networking and greater flexibility, or in other words an increase in safe, comfortable and environmentally compatible mobility (see "Environment->Management Approach“). With the Volkswagen Data Lab, founded in Munich in 2014, we are laying the foundations for new digital offerings involving the processing and analysis of large volumes of data. Here, fledgling start-ups and leading scientific institutes join forces with experts from our specialist departments to come up with new ideas and developsoftware prototypes for the Group.

Comprehensive Road Safety – ŠKODA Style

Award-winning level of safety: the ŠKODA Fabia.

Safe Vehicles and Road Safety

As an automaker we believe we have a responsibility to protect all road users to the best of our ability. All of our activities in this respect are geared to Vision Zero, which is to say zero fatalities or severe injuries in and due to vehicles manufactured by the Volkswagen Group. We are working to prevent accidents happening in the first place. The Group’s accident research departments play a pivotal role in this work, reconstructing and evaluating accidents in order to obtain information that will help boost future vehicle safety – findings that feed directly into our vehicle development activities, leading to new and user-oriented innovations. Today, a whole raft of assistance systems help drivers defuse hazardous situations well in advance. Intelligent driver assistance systems help them identify risks faster or avoid dangerous situations from the outset. These include ACC cruise control with Automatic Distance Control, the lane-keeping assistant Lane Assist, or the lane-changing assistant Side Assist, as well as the Emergency Assist system (introduced in the Passat in November 2014), along with many other driver assistance and safety systems. The aim in the future is to provide support when braking and taking evasive action to avoid collisions and provide an even higher level of safety. These active safety systems are backed up by optimally designed passive safety technology, for example in the shape of highly deformation-resistant passenger cells, defined front and rear crumple zones and crash-optimized interior design.

The activities of Group Research include drawing up feasibility studies for future automated driving and safety functions. For instance, the Autopilot function uses sensors to scan the vehicle’s environment, identifies and interprets the dynamic situation and computes the appropriate maneuvers. Equipped with this technology, the vehicle can drive itself autonomously and safely in parking garages and car parks, and can subsequently drive to a predefined pick-up point to await the driver’s return. In urban environments the system supports the driver in choosing an appropriate speed and can assist with lateral guidance in narrow spaces. On major roads and motorways the system is capable of driving autonomously, taking full control of longitudinal and lateral guidance, so that drivers can even take their hands off the wheel. If the system then encounters a safety-critical situation, it helps with the braking and evasive action, thereby reducing the severity of an accident or, in the best-case scenario, preventing it entirely. Despite all of these sophisticated assistance systems, however, the driver remains responsible for control of the vehicle. Assuring his or her safety – and the safety of all other road users – is the primary goal of all assistance systems.

We will only retain satisfied customers if our products exceed their expectations.

Product Safety

Maintaining the highest standards of product safety is of fundamental importance to the Group and its brands. That is why we attach such importance to painstaking quality assurance along the entire value chain, from purchasing right through to sales. Standardized processes, which are continuously optimized, provide a benchmark in all parts of the value chain. As part of our risk management activities we also enforce the highest possible quality standards throughout the value chain. Because we will only retain satisfied customers if our products exceed their expectations.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance for all Volkswagen Group brands. We monitor customer satisfaction using standardized performance indicators which are the same for all brands and include brand image, desirability, future purchase consideration, product quality and brand communication awareness. To ensure the targeted management of value-creating measures for the brands, we have established a “Group KPI” platform that can be accessed by all of the brands. Along with core indicators such as unit sales growth or customer loyalty, here the brands can also generate their own specific indicators to enable them to track customer satisfaction on an ongoing basis.
Around the world and across all Group brands satisfaction studies are carried out through which we ensure that due attention is paid to customer wishes and that we constantly improve our product and process quality. These studies focus on three areas: product, service and dealerships. Over the years we have been able to achieve a constant improvement in the Group’s average rating. Consequently, we believe we are on track to reach our corporate goal of leading the field in terms of customer satisfaction.
In 2014 the individual brands also turned in a very good performance in terms of customer satisfaction: in the European market all of the Group’s brands topped the rankings ahead of their respective competitors and were also able to improve their customer satisfaction ratings compared to the previous year. Porsche in particular merits special mention in this respect. In China too there were very positive developments to report, with all Group brands improving on their performance of the previous year. Volkswagen, ŠKODA and Audi led the field in terms of customer satisfaction, ahead of their respective competitors.
In the USA, meanwhile, Volkswagen ranked among the top three while Audi topped the rankings with a better customer satisfaction rating than its rivals. In Brazil the Group’s brands finished in mid-table but were able to improve on their score from the previous year.

Information and Labeling

As product manufacturers, all companies in the Volkswagen Group are obliged to suitably inform the users of their products about dangers that can ensue even during correct operation or foreseeable misuse of the product and warn them accordingly. The Group companies meet these requirements through instruction manuals and in individual cases through warning stickers in the vehicle. Since December 1, 2011, it has been mandatory for all new cars in Germany to be labeled with a weight-based efficiency label similar to the energy labeling system used for household appliances. Efficiency classes range from A+ (very efficient) to G (inefficient). The label also provides information on fuel consumption, annual fuel costs, CO2 emissions and the amount of tax payable under Germany’s CO2-based vehicle tax. For electric vehicles, the label provides information on electricity consumption. All Group brands use their websites to provide information on the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of their models. The fuel consumption and emission figures for all models referred to in this report can be found on page 144 . The Volkswagen and Audi brands also publish Environmental Commendations (see "Environment->Product Development“), which describe improvements in the environmental performance of new vehicles and technologies over their predecessors or reference models.

Selected Product Awards in Germany 2014

Show table
Award   Model   Awarding Body  
Bus of the Year 2015 MAN Lion’s City GL CNG Bus Euro Test
Golden Steering Wheel Golf Sportsvan (Volkswagen),
Passat (Volkswagen),
Macan• (Porsche),
Cayman GTS (Porsche)
Bild am Sonntag/Auto Bild
Green Truck 2014 Scania G 410 Verkehrsrundschau and Trucker
Green Steering Wheel Golf GTE (Volkswagen) Bild am Sonntag/Auto Bild
Most eco-friendly cars in all classes eco up!• (Volkswagen), Passat 1.4 TSI EcoFuel (Volkswagen) AUTOTEST
VCD Top 10 ranking list of environment-friendly cars eco up! (Volkswagen),
Citigo CNC Green tec (ŠKODA),
Mii Ecofuel (SEAT)
Verkehrsclub Deutschland e.V.