Mackevision realizes Volkswagen ‘dating site’ for car buyers
Volkswagen of America has launched an innovative configuration solution at vw.com. which revolutionizes purchasing new cars on the U.S. market. The new website is based on Mackevision technology from the F_Box family. It gives both the manufacturer and its dealers an unprecedented level of integration in the production and sales processes while, for the first time ever, U.S. car buyers can find exactly the car they want via a matchmaking function.
To date, customers in the U.S. have been able to configure their favorite Volkswagen online, but their final choice depends on which models their dealer has in stock. This is what’s known as the ‘best-match principle’. The new configuration engine on the other hand lets customers make an online selection from stock that’s actually on the dealer’s lot. If the desired vehicle is not obtainable locally, the search is extended to other dealers. As a result, the new website offers full configuration capabilities. VW customers in the U.S. can see online exactly the car they’ve chosen before visiting the dealer.
“The ‘build to order’ process for cars customary in Germany isn’t standard practice in the U.S. market. That is why Volkswagen of America’s new configurator is an important innovation for the U.S. car market,” explains Heiko Wenczel, head of the Mackevision branch in Detroit.
“Volkswagen of America’s platform looks a bit like a dating site,” comments Wenczel. “Car buyers can describe their requirements simply but precisely, so that they can find just what they’re looking for.” Mackevision developed and implemented the concept used to create images for the dating site in cooperation with Deutsch Inc., Volkswagen of America’s advertising agency.
“With our new site, customers don’t need to know our product lineup to find a car that’s right for them,” says Vinay Shahani, VP of brand marketing at Volkswagen America. “For example, they can search for all red cars, with a sunroof and navigation for under $250 a month…Or search all cars under $20,000. It’s hard to believe, but until now you couldn’t do that on a car manufacturer’s site.”
Mackevision’s F_BOX product family forms the foundation for this technology. A configuration tool – F_BOX configuration backbone – first establishes which types of vehicle can be built at all. The tool then stores this information in rendering scripts, which serve as the logical basis for the visualization system (F_BOX media server). In turn, it generates a variety of detailed, layered images of the virtual vehicles. The F_BOX picture shooter subsequently acts as a web-based, virtual studio. This tool produces 3D images from virtual product models and adds backgrounds for sales and marketing purposes without requiring any experience in computer-generated imagery and without having to install special-purpose software.