This month marks a major milestone in Volkswagen’s story: the arrival of the ID.4, the company’s first long-range electric SUV in dealers across America. Just as electric vehicles will transform the way we drive, Volkswagen has refreshed the way it sells vehicles to embrace a more sustainable future.
From before it leaves the factory to when a new ID.4 owner quietly drives away, Volkswagen has changed, updated or reinvented the steps to the typical vehicle purchase and delivery process. As Volkswagen drives toward making its global business carbon neutral by 2050, and assembling EVs in America, it needed to create a robust process for shipping and selling EVs through a network of more than 600 dealers.
“The launch of the ID.4 represents a huge inflection point for the Volkswagen brand, and its foray into becoming a major player in the electric vehicle space,” said Taylor Olson, EV sales strategy and dealer development lead for Volkswagen of America. “The ID.4 is the right car at the right time and is being sold by a dealer network that has really embraced the shift to electrification.”
Compared to a traditional vehicle, an electric vehicle requires several different steps along its journey from factory to dealer. EVs require special handling when in transit from the factory to dealerships, including maintaining a sufficient state of charge to complete the journey.
Preparation for the arrival of the ID.4 in the U.S. started more than two years ago. Over that time, many Volkswagen dealers have installed Level 2 charging stations and appropriate vehicle lifts to unload the products into showrooms and service bays. Others have worked to stage their showrooms around the ID.4, giving consumers room to see the inner workings of a long-range electric vehicle.
Volkswagen and its dealers recognize that EVs come with a learning curve, requiring some new approaches to driving, charging and maintaining the vehicle. Many ID.4 customers may have never experienced an EV before, making the interaction between the dealer and the customer critical, especially when discussing topics like charging and range. Preparing customers by letting them experience the thrill of driving an EV themselves and providing them the right educational tools creates a recipe for success and a positive customer experience.
“I honestly see the ID.4 as a grand slam of a product. Not just in terms of the product itself, but the timing and for the people that it will reach,” said Cal Angus, EV specialist at Colonial Volkswagen in Westborough, Mass.
To support the expanded role of sales teams at dealerships, Volkswagen offers comprehensive training to become certified in EV – covering both the ID.4 specifically, as well as information on charging stations and networks. Volkswagen dealers also have designated EV Specialists, ready to support customers with any specific ID.4 or EV questions.
“VW of America has been extremely helpful putting the tools together,” said Steven Kappler, sales associate for Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles in Sterling, Va. “It is great to have a go to place to check on information for not only my own knowledge, but for current reservation holders, prospective buyers, people in service, all to get the word out there.”
For most consumers, purchasing an at-home Level 2 charging option will be part of the experience.1 To prepare the sales teams, the curriculum covers topics from how to charge a car to what types of incentives may be available from federal, state, or local organizations. At the end, customers should feel confident in all aspects of EV ownership, and ready to enjoy their ID.4 for years to come.
“I have been doing this for 22 years and this is one of the most exciting launches we’ve had since the Touareg,” said Bridget Stennis, Fleet Sales Manager and Master Certified for EV sales, Volkswagen Santa Monica.