Volkswagen: A local approach to fleet management – Ralf Kostrewa

To truly see the big picture, fleet managers and finance directors must be in touch with the needs and demands of those on the ground - at a local level. Head of sales international at Volkswagen Group Fleet International Ralf Kostrewa discusses how his company's vehicles meet organisations' environmental and financial needs, country by country.

How does Volkswagen handle international fleet demands?

Ralf Kostrewa: In our experience, international fleet demands need a national foundation.

The international procurement process is useful to the customer in terms of transparency and general optimisation, but at the end of the day, the usage of the vehicle is the most important aspect and this must be tackled locally.

Volkswagen therefore provides international incentives, which are a top priority for national business, but we always make sure that the general business is handled by our national sales forces.

To what extent have you found the finance director becoming more involved in fleet management decisions?

The involvement of finance directors in fleet management matters is, for many of our customers, already commonplace.

Whether it is trade or industrial, all of our client segments made decisions based firstly on financial evaluations, followed by environmental aspects and, last but not least, by their emotions.

"The international procurement process is useful, but at the end of the day, the usage of the vehicle is the most important aspect and this must be tackled locally."

When it comes to finance, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is the deciding factor and this renders us confident as a manufacturer because Volkswagen Group provides stable residual values and running costs across all of its product lines.

How efficient are Volkswagen vehicles from a TCO and environmental perspective?

Our patented BlueMotion technology provides the modern-day mass market with a significant reduction in harmful carbon emissions.

This technology is therefore today's answer to questions about the environment, taxation and fuel consumption, while of course also making a significant financial contribution to the customer's wallet.

Along with efficient engines featuring BlueMotion, the mid-term future belongs to e-mobility and the hybrid - technologies that will soon be carried by the e-Up! and Golf Blue-e-motion models.

How do you see the international fleet and travel market evolving over the coming years, from an environmental and mobility management perspective?

As stated previously, we believe that international markets without a national foundation cannot be truly efficient.

The international steering and definition of framework conditions for the fleet business is set to grow and obviously this process will be substantially driven by environmental aspects.

In terms of mobility management, it will most likely also encompass a combination of different mobility tools, such as public transport and car-sharing concepts. But, once again, each concept must meet local needs.

Which of your executive cars are most suited to the CFO of today?

I believe that our group provides a wide range of suitable vehicles and our sizeable product portfolio should provide enough alternatives to satisfy many individual organisations' demands.

In general, our company car policy is again determined locally. For instance, there is a wide range suited to companies in Sweden and Germany, on the one hand, with others better suited to Italy and Spain on the other.

Head of sales international at Volkswagen Group Fleet International Ralf Kostrewa.