Right from the product development stage, we aim to prevent quality problems, or to identify and rectify them at the earliest possible point, so as to avoid delays to the start of production. As the use of modular components is steadily increasing thanks to our modular toolkit strategy, it is very important when defects do occur to identify and eliminate the cause of the defect as quickly as possible. We further optimized these processes at our brands and improved our organizational processes during the reporting period so that we are able to counter the associated risks effectively.
Growing production volumes, increasing complexity and the use of the Group’s toolkit system mean that the need for high-grade supplier components of impeccable quality is rising. To ensure the continuity of production, it is extremely important that our own plants and our suppliers deliver on time. We ensure long-term quality and supply capability from the very start of the supply chain using an internally tested risk management system that we have introduced at suppliers. By taking these measures, Quality Assurance helps to fulfill customer expectations and consequently to boost our Company’s reputation, sales figures and earnings.
Sustained high demand in the Volkswagen Group’s key markets also presents particular challenges for quality assurance. This issue is of fundamental importance especially in the Brazilian, Russian, Indian and Chinese markets, for which we develop dedicated vehicles and where local manufacturing operations and suppliers have been established. We analyze the conditions specific to each market and adapt quality requirements individually. We counter the local risks we identify by continuously developing effective measures in cooperation with the central Quality Assurance function and implementing them locally, thereby minimizing quality defects from the outset.
Vehicle registration and operation criteria are set and monitored by national and, in some cases, international authorities. Some countries also have special, and in some cases new, rules aimed at protecting customers in their dealings with vehicle manufacturers. We therefore systematically ensure that the Volkswagen Group brands and their products fulfill all applicable requirements and that local authorities receive timely notification of all issues required to be reported. By doing so, we reduce the risk of customer complaints, administrative fines and other negative consequences.