New car, custom-tailored: Volkswagen improves its online car configurator

Automakers looking to inspire customers to buy a car also need to make optimum use of digital touchpoints – which is why Volkswagen has modernized its car configurator, improved it and linked it to an integrated dealer contact center.

The customer

The Volkswagen Group, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, is one of the world’s leading carmakers and is the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Europe. Its products range from motorcycles and compact cars to luxury vehicles. The group also builds a wide selection of commercial vehicles, such as pickups, buses and heavy trucks. Volkswagen AG comprises twelve brands from seven European countries, including Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, SKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. 

The company operates 119 production plants in 20 European countries and in 11 countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, 610,100 employees worldwide produce nearly 42,000 vehicles. In 2015, the group’s sales totaled EUR 213 billion. With its TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 future program, Volkswagen AG is paving the way for the biggest change process in its history: the realignment of one of the largest carmakers to become a globally leading provider of sustainable mobility.

The challenge

When customers today set out to buy a new car, their individual needs – from colors and options to engines – play an increasingly important role. Customers want their cars to be a perfect match for their lives and personal tastes. At the same time, they attach growing importance to using digital options prior to buying a car. A 360° visualizer allows them to take a closer look at the model of their dreams before heading to the dealership.

Automakers aiming for success must focus their attention on these new customer needs. As a result, many companies offer potential customers an online car configurator, which gives them an opportunity to put together the model of their dreams before making a purchase. 

Volkswagen’s configurator has been available since 2004. To tailor the service for use on mobile devices, Volkswagen has thoroughly retooled its configurator and the Volkswagen partner contact center. Lufthansa Industry Solutions supported the company in this process.

The solution

Volkswagen has re-engineered and redesigned its car configurator to make the website more user-friendly and accessible – from both desktop and mobile devices – and make it easier for customers to get in touch with dealers. During implementation, Volkswagen and Lufthansa Industry Solutions chose agile software development methods using scrum, allowing the partners to complete the IT project, including new architecture, on a tight schedule despite the high complexity of the configurator.  

Lufthansa Industry Solutions supported Volkswagen in the technical specification of the configurator and technical design within the IT project team. In addition, Lufthansa Industry Solutions also coordinated the dependencies with back-end systems and deployments. 

The customer benefit

The new Volkswagen configurator, featuring optimized and responsive design, is a central element of the VW website. It digitally improves product experience and plays a pivotal role in customers’ buying decisions. Compared to the previous car configurator, the number of completed configurations has increased by 307 percentage points since mid-2014. As a result, this tool has the potential to contribute to a rise in sales of cars and commercial vehicles from the VW family. 

The new Dealer Contact Center (DCC) also makes it easier for customers to get in touch with sales partners through convenient search and route-planner functions. By leveraging the new IT solution to guide potential customers to the next step in the sales process in a targeted manner, the new car configurator is increasing dealer leads.