Taking Delivery Of Your Car – Wolfsburg Style


Share on LinkedIn

Wolfsburg is an interesting place. Not only is it the automotive hub for Volkswagen but it’s the home of the Autostadt. I went there last week for the ESOMAR global automotive research forum. It was held at the Autostadt which receives 2.5 million visitors a year. It’s an automotive theme park but instead of Mickey, it has assorted pavilions dedicated to the various Volkswagen brands and it really is quite an experience.

For those of us involved in understanding and measuring the customer experience, the highlight of the Autostadt has to be the vehicle delivery towers.

After buying a car from their local VW dealer, customers from all over Europe have the option of picking up their car directly at the Autostadt and 400 to 500 customers per day take VW up on it. The vehicles are manufactured at nearby plants and transported via underground tunnels to the delivery towers. They’re stacked, vending-machine style, awaiting their new owners.

Autostadt 3

Customers arrive, tour the Autostadt, sit in a special amusement park style people-carrier, and are whisked to the very top of the delivery towers for a panoramic view overlooking the park. They watch as their new car is delicately picked up by a specialized hoist where it is brought down to the ground floor, ready to be driven away. There are two towers, each 20 stories high with each level holding 20 cars.

It truly makes the experience special. A German colleague told me how he personally witnessed a family weeping with tears of joy as they took delivery of their new Golf. Really?

From work we have done, I can tell you statistically how important the delivery experience is in boosting customer satisfaction and with it, increased positive word of mouth and recommendation. The delivery towers at the Autostadt make it real.

Autostadt 4

If you’re a dealer reading this, or someone at head office responsible for the customer experience, you may not be able to afford the hundreds of millions of euros it took to make this happen. But look at your own operation or your dealer network and see how this concept can work in your context.

Working in the industry we get jaded. We forget that for the average customer, picking up a new car is something they will remember forever. What happens at the Autostadt may be an extreme example but the concept can be applied at every dealership where a customer buys a car. Make it special. It’s in your best interest.

Until next time.


PS. Some asked how the conference went. It was an interesting time with various papers being presented on everything from the research process behind the latest Range Rover, which automotive brands were most valuable (Toyota was on top), to the use of neuro-science in assessing how customers react to vehicle styling at a car clinic. Pretty cool stuff.

My talk on Friday morning focused on Make or Break Customer Satisfaction – what do dealers have to do to improve the customer experience and equally important, what do they do to avoid making it horrible. Why is this important? More satisfied customers buy more. That’s good for business. I am extremely gratefully to Steve Kelleher, Mark Orlando, and Pat O’Donnell of Hyundai Auto Canada for allowing us to share the results of the case study. The audience appeared to enjoy it and judging from the feedback, it was well received. Thank you.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris Travell
Chris Travell is VP, Strategic Consulting for the Automotive Group of Maritz Research. He is responsible for working with Maritz' Insight Teams to further the understanding and application of the firm's automotive research. He has appeared on numerous television programs and is often quoted in Automotive News, Time, USA Today, Edmunds, Detroit Free Press, The Globe and Mail and various other publications in regard to issues related to the North American automotive industry. He is the principal contributor to The Ride Blog, Maritz Research's automotive blog.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here