Volkswagen CEO admits Interior mistakes: A candid look at customer alienation.
In a refreshingly honest confession, Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen, has acknowledged the missteps made by his predecessor regarding the interiors of Volkswagen cars, which have resulted in customer dissatisfaction.
Since assuming the CEO role in July 2022, Schäfer has been upfront about the frustrating details that were approved by Herbert Diess.
According to CarExpert, he acknowledges that features such as haptic steering wheel switchgear and touch-capacitive climate control sliders have “definitely done a lot of damage” to Volkswagen’s reputation among loyal customers. He recognised that frustrated customers should not have been left feeling this way.
To rectify these issues, Schäfer and his team have meticulously examined the functions that customers typically interact with while using a vehicle. They aim to drop or modify these controversial features and provide a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.
As a result, upcoming models, such as the 2024 Tiguan, will showcase Volkswagen’s commitment to improvement.
While the Tiguan will feature a larger touchscreen and fewer physical switchgear, it will introduce a rotary controller on the centre console for drive mode, volume settings, and proper steering wheel buttons.
Volkswagen aims for careful evolution rather than a complete overhaul of its interiors, focusing on optimising and bringing the design into the future while maintaining customer familiarity and consistency.
Schäfer emphasised the importance of not confusing customers with drastic changes in each new model. Volkswagen has always been known for its intuitiveness, where drivers immediately know where everything is located inside the car.
This approach will continue with the forthcoming ID.2 and subsequent models aiming to deliver top-notch interiors.
Beyond the Tiguan, Volkswagen plans to enhance the user-friendliness of other models like the next Passat and the updated Golf. Schäfer outlined the development process, which involves prioritising the most important functions and ensuring their accessibility through buttons or screens.
The aesthetics and haptics of the controls are carefully considered to provide a satisfying experience for users.
The CEO admitted that mistakes were also made with the company’s infotainment systems, and Volkswagen is actively addressing the issues with software and hardware updates.
Volkswagen’s move away from touch-capacitive switchgear echoes similar shifts by brands like General Motors and Ford, who phased out these features after receiving criticism from owners.
In pursuing improved usability and customer satisfaction, Volkswagen is determined to learn from past mistakes and create interiors that resonate with its drivers.
As Volkswagen continues refining its approach, customers can expect a renewed focus on intuitive design, optimised functionality, and an enhanced driving experience.