VW surveys 14-29 year olds; reveals app concepts

Volkswagen and MTV Networks have presented “MePublic – A Global Study on Social Media Youth”. The international study gives an insight into media use and value concepts among the group of 14-to 29-year-olds known as “digital natives”.

As the study shows, the young people would also like to see networking extend to the car. A trend to which Volkswagen is responding by developing various apps.

The study also confirms that the social web is an important resource for a company’s marketing activities. According to “MePublic”, 43 percent of users post their favorite brands on the social web. 50 percent follow product recommendations in social networks.

This trend fundamentally changes customer-supplier relations: Facebook and YouTube users become important partners for companies provided rules such as sincerity, transparency, dialog orientation and authenticity are preserved.

Volkswagen is currently developing applications that satisfy demands for networking while driving. For example, an interactive iPhone application that goes by the working name of “Dieter App” is being developed which can give recommendations on driving style, route planning or events and can also be used to communicate with other drivers.

The application is designed to network the driver with online communities, thereby providing both functional and emotional added value: “The planned application assumes the role of the co-pilot and loyal companion and is in line with the wish for a personalized vehicle expressed by the young people”, said Luca de Meo, Volkswagen Group’s Marketing Head.

The CO2 monitor is also designed as an iPhone application. Fuel consumption and other driving data are transmitted to a Volkswagen website and included in a driver ranking.

Volkswagen is seeking to motivate its customers to develop an awareness of environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient driving with this edutainment competition.

At the event presenting the study, Volkswagen provided a taste of the future of in-car internet radio in the current Polo GTI: A music streaming service generates personalized music programs from the user’s favorite songs.

Internet podcasts can be downloaded in this way, too, easily transforming the car into a mobile information center. Given ever-faster transmission speeds in the mobile communications sector, this service could soon become reality.

Volkswagen broke new ground in the new media with the market launch of the Polo GTI on Facebook in June 2010. This was the first time the company presented a vehicle to customers exclusively on a social network.

The study is based on a solid method mix: International secondary research including over 200 academic research studies, commercial market media studies and quantitative surveys in ten countries (Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, France, USA, Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand) which interviewed more than 26,000 young people aged between 14 and 29.

View full press release here.

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