Volkswagen Puts Their U.S. Dealers At Ease (Somewhat)
Automotive News (Subscription Required) reports that at the National Auto Dealers Association convention, Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess told dealers he vowed to “redefine” Volkswagen's beleaguered brand identity and boosting production of certain models.
“We’re looking forward to really managing through the crisis and then really relaunching the brand and looking at a much more positive future,” said Diess to reporters after the meeting.
The 90-minute meeting with dealers mostly stuck with to products. Diess reaffirmed that the company would launch two new crossovers next year - the second-generation Tiguan and the seven-seat crossover. Also, an additional 20,000 units of the current Tiguan and Beetle Classic will be heading to dealers this year. In the meantime, Volkswagen will send more vehicles to dealers to help reverse a 12.5 percent drop in sales through the first quarter.
But there were some issues that were not resolved during the meeting. First was getting any details on a fix for the affected diesel vehicles. Diess and other executives couldn't say anything due to a government gag order. There wasn't any talk either on possible compensation for dealers on losses incurred since the diesel emission scandal broke out.
Dealers were mixed on Diess' responses. Some said the comments gave some reassurance. Others said Volkswagen missed a chance to show they understood the situation dealers find themselves in.
“I would title the meeting ‘We’re working on it.' There were no promises other than broad statements that we’re working on it and we’re doing our best. This is nothing more than more of the same,” said Steve Kalafer, owner of a Volkswagen dealer in New Jersey.
Pic Credit: Volkswagen of America