The automotive finance sector has a responsibility to learn lessons from the coronavirus crisis and help get Britain moving again, according to Carl zu Dohna, new chief commercial officer of Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS).
Zu Dohna, who joined from VW Commercial Vehicles earlier this month, said the positive response from the industry in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic outbreak must also be reflected in the ongoing coordinated response required to deal with the enormity of the economic challenge that lies ahead.
“By focusing on helping our retailers and business customers, we will come through the next few months stronger, together,” zu Dohna said.
“While we will need to look at how our business operates in this new world, there is a responsibility to help our retailer networks as they begin to open up and rebuild their businesses. As a company that helps millions of motorists get to where they need to be, we’re ready to help our retail partners play a role in that.”
While zu Dohna believes the industry responded well to the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the economy, there are lessons to be learnt. For example, there has been an overhaul around how vehicles are collected during restricted movement and whilst reductions in salary have impacted customer payments, the industry has had to respond accordingly.
“We are mapping the customer journey and re-aligning our focus on how we deliver a great experience from end-to-end. This is vital work which can support our retailer networks. As a result, we are overlaying this with how the pandemic will influence and change the industry, how people buy cars and what might change for retailers.”
Reshaping products such as increased deposit contributions by retailers and no payments on new vehicles for the first three months will help the industry begin to engage customers once again, added zu Dohna. “The right vehicle finance is pivotal to ensuring how more and more workers in the UK start to go back to work.
“It seems likely that we will live and work in parallel to this virus and its impact for some time to come, so the need to be agile and nimble enough to shape our products and services accordingly is essential to success.
“We are constantly looking to evolve our products and services to support our retail partners. We must anticipate this change carefully and adapt to how we can best support them.”