Why did you start the campaign for the VW ID3 compact electric car a year before deliveries begin?
For the fundamental transformation of Volkswagen toward e-mobility we are pursuing an entirely new marketing approach. We are starting much earlier than usual and not only talking about the product. Because many people are not as familiar with e-mobility as they are with internal combustion cars we want to provide information and break down prejudices.
Will the long lead time help you better understand how customers will react to EVs so you are better positioned to sell them?
We aren't just concentrating on the pre-bookings. We want to learn what motivates our customers. Thanks to data-driven marketing we know where they come from, we know where they go, which content they like and don't like. With our recently launched ID.Hub, we will learn how to improve ourselves. We have never worked like this before. Other companies started selling electric cars many years before us. We have to kick-start our efforts and make sure we do things right.
Who is the ID3's target customer?
Using social demographics and psychographics we have identified for the first time a global target audience that we call "aspirational middle class." With all innovations, however, you have this diffusion curve. The Golf appeals to the masses. Tesla appeals to innovators. After the innovators come the early adopters. We want to target those early adopters. That's why our communication is more edgy than with our conventional cars. If you catch the early adopters, the others will follow.
Are these car buyers younger than VW's typical customer?
It's more a matter of mindset because people of all ages are interested in electrification. That being said, most of the people are younger than buyers of a combustion engine car. The early adopters earn very good money, work at startup companies, live in urban environments, are well educated and move a little bit faster than the rest.
Does your new marketing strategy for the ID3 signal the end of Volkswagen We ecosystem for mobility services?
On the contrary. It will help to develop Volkswagen We further. It is the ecosystem that will pool all our digital services for the car and beyond. Our goal is to have one customer data platform. Very much like Google ID or Apple ID [which contains users' personal information and settings so they are automatically recognized even when they enter through a different portal within the company], our customers will get their individual Volkswagen ID so we can identify them when they enter our ecosystem and offer them exactly the services they want. To achieve this, we are working on a new global website for 120 markets that will be the gateway to VW. When you come back to our website, you will get the screen you have left. We are creating thousands of individual user journeys.
What do you mean when you say that the forthcoming eighth-generation Golf will be digitalized?
Like the ID3, the Golf 8 will have an operating system that will be on our automotive cloud 24/7. The ID3 and the Golf 8 will be the first high-volume cars that will be updated and upgraded over their life cycles, either at the dealership or over-the-air.
What is the advantage of having the car connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
It will be like your smartphone. This is what people expect today. With a connected car you will be able to book products, functions and services. We are working with external partners such as Microsoft to implement this digital ecosystem.
Will this service be included in the car's price or will a customer have to pay a subscription?
It's too early to say.