The biggest winner of the Folha Top of Mind in a single category, the car category, Volkswagen reaches its 70th anniversary in Brazil in 2023 with plans to make the use of cars more flexible and to decarbonize factories and vehicles.
While discussions on the introduction of the electric car are advancing slowly in the market, the traditional German automaker is already working on modernizing and refining the buying experience of its cars. The biggest pillar is the development of digital and alternative solutions for consumption, such as Sign & Drive, the company’s car rental service.
This greater proximity to the public’s demands is crucial for the future in the eyes of Roger Corassa, vice president of sales and marketing at Volkswagen do Brasil. “Understanding customer needs is certainly the main point in this whole relationship,” he explains. “Only in this way can consumers have confidence in our brand and our products.”
In addition, he believes that sustainability is central to the business of any car company, especially as the topic of decarbonization in the sector has gained relevance.
Volkswagen seeks to maintain itself as an example since it became the first company in the sector to sign the Paris Agreementwhich provides for an overall reduction of 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. In Brazil, the brand already invests in campaigns and actions that prepare the ground for the arrival of the electric caras well as opening this month a new biofuel research center in São Bernardo do Campo (Greater São Paulo).
Corassa talks about the historical evolution of the theme of sustainability in the automaker’s business and how the brand intends to extend the record of 30 victories in the Top of Mind Car category for the coming years.
Folha – Volkswagen won the Car category 30 times. How important is it to win the award on a recurring basis?
Roger Corassa – This continuous recognition is the result of all the efforts that Volkswagen makes with a focus on its customers. It is a strategic work that shows how the company is getting closer and closer and has been understanding the needs of consumers by bringing products that surprise and meet their desires. This means offering much more technology, connectivity and design in our products and enchanting the service and experience throughout the customer’s journey with our brand.
What were the main changes in the market in the 32 years of existence of the Datafolha survey?
Topics such as security, technology and design continue to be attributes that Brazilian consumers have highly valued over the years. What has changed is the way people are consuming cars. Today we are a much more human, digital company, closer to our customers, offering products and services, always aligned with their needs. Thinking broadly about the customer journey is a constant concern of the company.
Today we have a strong network of dealerships in all regions of Brazil, focusing on the customer experience and the benefits that the digitalization of processes can offer. Volkswagen do Brasil makes use of DDX (Digital Dealer eXperience), an important convenience feature that gives consumers the opportunity to complete the entire purchase journey without necessarily going to a dealership.
What is your assessment of the impact of the pandemic on brand strategies?
What most positively marked it was the acceleration towards digital. A great example was when, with Nivus, we broke the paradigm of launching a 100% digital model, without anyone, not customers or journalists, driving the car. Our pre-sale was a huge success. The first batch finished in 24 hours with 1,200 units sold, with 200 units of a special limited edition sold in just 7 minutes.
What is Sign & Drive and how does it fit into Volkswagen’s business?
It is a subscription service with online contracting created to meet the contemporary way of consuming cars. Developed in partnership with Volkswagen Financial Services and Assobrav [Associação Brasileira de Distribuidores Volkswagen, organização que representa a rede de concessionários da fabricante]is a complementary service to what we already offer, which is to purchase a vehicle in cash or finance.
Has the increased public perception of sustainability changed the company’s behavior and actions?
Certainly, and today, what is on the agenda of the sustainability agenda is the impact that automakers are having on the environment and it is evident how relevant the issue of decarbonization is.
Volkswagen was the first car manufacturer to join the Paris Agreement and implemented the global Way To Zero strategy, which aims to neutralize CO2 emissions.two until 2050.
In Europe, the electric offensive has already begun. In the US and China, this should happen a little later. In emerging markets like Brazil, it may take even longer to become fully electric.
Some factors make faster changes impossible: unavailability of charging infrastructure, renewable energy and the level of local income. That’s why it’s necessary to explore alternative options taking advantage of local resources that are already available today. The use of biofuels is a complementary strategy to help industry in emerging markets neutralize carbon emissions.
What are Volkswagen’s sustainability goals?
We follow the global Way To Zero strategy. We are always communicating on our social networks, at this first moment, what are our actions in favor of decarbonization, so that we can take grounded knowledge and in a light and fun way for more people to understand the importance of climate protection.
We are developing partnerships with universities and companies, as well as investing regionally in a Biofuels Research & Development Center that will be inaugurated in September at the Anchieta unit, in São Bernardo do Campo.
What are the forecasts for the automobile market?
We imagine the coming year with many new products in terms of products. We will have the evolution of research and partnerships sealed with universities. The Taubaté plant will already be operating with biomethane as a source of energy in production, our R&D center in biofuels will already be in operation, and we will celebrate 70 years of Volkswagen in Brazil, with actions that will extend throughout the year.