VOLKSWAGEN GIVES BACK

[pullquoteright] A COMMITMENT TO WOMEN AND A BETTER WORLD[/pullquoteright]

AutoPacific, a research and forecasting company for the auto industry reports women were more likely to prioritize price and monthly payments along with fuel economy and gas mileage at higher percentages than men. The figures are 75.8 percent of women, versus 63 percent of men and 77.5 percent women to 65.2 percent of men respectively. Though the gap is closing, women are more likely to purchase a Volkswagen at higher percentages than men. According to a January 2012 report from The New York Times, the numbers come in at 70% in 2012.

Volkswagen has long recognized the value of the female market and has gone to great lengths to honor their partnership with women, not just in auto sales but the work place as well. This was discussed in an interview by Volkswagen with Elke Heitmuller, leader of The Department to Promote Women. Ms. Heitmuller states, “Volkswagen offers flexible working hours and is viewed by most employees as an extremely family-friendly company. The mums and dads that work here have long appreciated the variety of options available — from the promise of re-employment or part-time working hours, right through to flexitime schemes.”

It’s no wonder VW is making great strides in penetrating the American market. With an eye toward tripling sales in the United States by 2018, Volkswagen of America is pushing aggressively for new market share. But the brand’s most visible promotional activities this year have suggested an apparent, if not openly acknowledged, marketing plan to woo female buyers, reports the New York Times.

The Detroit Free Press related Volkswagen is finally gaining ground in America after decades of uneven results. In the U.S., the German automaker is still a niche player, but the VW brand achieved a new high in 2012 with 3% market share and 438,133 vehicles sold, up 35% from the previous year. That is great progress for a brand that only exceeded 300,000 annual U.S. sales five times in the last 33 years, according to WardsAuto. The brand dipped to 0.4% of the U.S. market in 1993 with fewer than 50,000 sales and unknown to many, the manufacturer debated leaving the US market.

The female market in particular is glad they did not.

Volkswagen is very candid about their high standards, important principles and commitment to global social responsibilities. In their publication, The Volkswagen Group, Code of Conduct, they state, “We stand for respectable, honest, and actions in everyday business that are in accordance with rules, and we commit ourselves to the following Code of Conduct.” Here are some of their General Conduct Requirements.

1. Responsibility for the Reputation of the Volkswagen Group
2. Responsibility for Basic Social Rights and Principles
3. Equal Opportunity and Mutual Respect
4. Employees and Employee Representatives

Here are their belief systems regarding the environment. “We develop, produce, and distribute automobiles around the world to preserve individual mobility. We bear responsibility for continuous improvement of the environmental tolerability of our products and for the lowering of demands on natural resources while taking economic considerations into account. We therefore make ecologically efficient advanced technologies available throughout the world and implement them over the entire life cycle of our products.”

A recent example of their principles placed into action is their support of The Oklahoma City community after the recent devastating natural disaster. In their May 23, 2013 news report, they volunteered the following, “The Volkswagen of America Foundation, which was created by Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., announced today that it will make an immediate donation of $250,000 to the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity to assist with the disaster relief efforts following the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma.”

“Given the severity of the disaster in Oklahoma, the Volkswagen of America Foundation has decided to provide resources to the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, who can then allocate the resources where needed,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “It is our hope that this donation will provide some relief to those affected and help them rebuild their communities and their lives.”

“The donation will help cover costs of shelter, food, recovery and other assistance to families affected by the tornadoes. Volkswagen would like to express its thoughts and concern for all of those affected, including dealers, employees and their families. Additionally, Volkswagen will provide matching funds to any employee donations made to the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity or the organization of their choosing.”

With their sponsoring activities, Volkswagen supports culture, education, science and sports. FCI’s goal is to form positive partnerships and build bridges to further the interests of fully competitive, dignified female wrestling. We’re confident that anyone who researches the type of quality female athletes that the colleges of the NAIA system are recruiting would feel very comfortable to have their name associated with them. Many of the schools are faith based and the programs are heavily supported by families and the surrounding community. The young women will soon use their college degrees to pursue great life goals and will have the purchasing power to do so. They would make a great partner for any reputable organization.

Over the years in America and around the world, Volkswagen has been known for their high standards. Ms. Heitmuller, quoted earlier, sums it up best. “Volkswagen was the first large organisation to introduce basic principles for promoting women, and since then has advanced efforts to establish a more family-focused corporate culture. This is the path that we plan to follow consistently going forwards.”

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Sources: AutoPacific, Bankrate.com, New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times, Vroomgirls, Motor Trend, Volkswagen website, The Volkswagen Group Code of Conduct, Wards Auto, Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons.