Despite a slight slowdown in the economy as a whole, investments being made in business and infrastructure will continue as planned in 2015, paving the way for a bright and prosperous future for the country, says Andrew Squires, General Manager, Wattayah Motors. An OER interview.
How has your company’s performance in 2014?
The year 2014 has been a very exciting year for Volkswagen in Oman with sales increasing by over 25 per cent. The Volkswagen brand is one of the strongest car brands in the world and is the second largest car manufacturer. Through product innovation, we are able to offer vehicles, which deliver outstanding performance, offering driving pleasure unmatched by other volume brands, whilst at the same time offering the driver and passengers world-class safety standards. It is these qualities and the support of our valued customers which has helped us to not only achieve our sales goals but also exceed them.
Can you share a few highlights of Wattayah Motors’ performance this year?
The entire Volkswagen team has been working very hard throughout the year to ensure customer delight in all areas of our business, right from sales through to the all-important after sales service. We have been training our team extensively to become more receptive to our customer’s needs; the results of which have been quite evident in our customer satisfaction survey results, which has seen an increase of more than 20 per cent in both sales and after sales. I believe that it is this delivery of customer service that has helped us break records in sales as well as increase our customer retention in the service department.
What were the factors that helped the company do well?
The Volkswagen brand was not well known in Oman and those that did know the brand thought that we were expensive to purchase and maintain. Over the years we have made considerable efforts towards showing people that Volkswagen actually offers great value for money. With our vehicles needing to be serviced only once every 15,000 kilometres, great used car values and excellent fuel economy, purchasing a Volkswagen either new or used ensures low cost motoring. We also offer a new car fixed price service plan up to 150,000 kilometres providing new and prospective owners with total peace of mind motoring for the duration of their vehicle ownership.
Furthermore, the build quality of our passenger cars and commercial vehicles is well known throughout the world. Here in Oman we pride ourselves on our competitive pricing policy that ensures our customers, both new and old, quality motoring at an affordable price. While these factors have definitely helped us in 2014, the main factor has been the trust our customers have placed in us by buying a new or used Volkswagen.
What are your plans for year 2015?
Our plans in 2015 are not too different from those in 2014. People are at the heart of everything we do at Volkswagen. We will continue to invest in our staff through extensive training as well as launching a new recruitment programme aimed at Omanis, offering them skills training and a long-term future with Wattayah Motors. In 2015 we will finalise the development plans for new facilities across Oman, all of which will offer exceptional levels of customer care. Through increased awareness of the Volkswagen brand and guaranteed customer delight we hope to see our sales increase further in 2015.
There have been some concerns about low oil prices. Is this a cause for worry and how do you see 2015 shaping up?
Of course the recent shift in oil prices are concerning to everyone. However, thanks to the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, I believe Oman has built a strong base in many areas of industry and commerce that will help it pull through. While we may see a slight slowdown in the economy as a whole, it is clear that investments being made in business and infrastructure will continue as planned in 2015, paving the way for a bright and prosperous future for the country.
What was your bestselling model this year and are there any new vehicles we can expect to see in the coming year?
All vehicles In the Volkswagen range, from the Jetta to the Touareg, have seen an increase in sales during 2014. However, one car has definitely stood out in terms of sales growth â€“ the Volkswagen Passat. It has been sold in Oman for over a decade and has grown to become a benchmark in the family car sector in the country. With class leading rear legroom and boot space, standard safety equipment such as six airbags across the range and an attractive price point, the Volkswagen Passat has shown a sales increase of 49 per cent year on year.
In 2014 we also saw the launch of the new Volkswagen Beetle, the Golf R and the new Jetta. In January 2015, we will launch the new Touareg and later in the year we plan to unveil one other new car. Volkswagen in Germany has big plans for Oman in the next few years so we can definitely expect some very exciting developments.
How has the shift to the new facilities (service and showroom) affected the services provided by Volkswagen in Oman and what has been your customers’ response to the same?
The launch of our new facilities in Muscat has enabled us to really improve our levels of customer service. Our fully air-conditioned workshop provides our technicians with a more comfortable working environment, which has resulted in a significant improvement in our overall quality standards. Parking for our after-sales customers has also become much easier with shortened waiting times for booking in vehicles for service. Our new showroom offers a relaxed environment for customers to view our vehicles. All of these changes have led to an increase in our published customer satisfaction results. In the future we will look towards developing new facilities across Oman so that we continue to offer convenience and the very best in customer service regardless of where our customers are based.