Volkswagen dealers in the U.S. want to be compensated for financial losses stemming from the diesel emissions scandal, and if the results of a recent meeting with company brass is any indication, the demands will soon grow louder.
Alan Brown, chairman of Volkswagen’s U.S. dealer council, led a small delegation of dealers to Germany last week to talk reparations and get a firm grip on the company’s strategy, Automotive News reports.
The size of the settlement they were seeking is unknown, but the meeting with global brand chief Herbert Diess and new Volkswagen Group of America head Hinrich Woebcken didn’t yield any plan to compensate dealers.
Brown had earlier called on the automaker to help “stop the insanity” that was engulfing dealers, many of whom are suffering from a large revenue drop and a disorganized allocation process — this after many sank big bucks into expanding their operations as Volkswagen embarked on a global sales push.
Volkswagen of America has been sending dealers an allowance to offset lost sales since shortly after the scandal broke, but that doesn’t cover the big losses some dealers have been hit with, nor does it take away the uncertainty of the future.
Though Volkswagen executives weren’t playing the reparation game just yet, they did shed some light on the brand’s strategy going forward.
Recent musings about Volkswagen becoming a higher-end niche brand sent dealers into a near panic, spurring Brown and others to go looking for assurances.
In a letter distributed to U.S. dealers following the meeting, Brown said Volkswagen had committed to continuing a mass-market strategy of compact and midsize cars and crossovers.
In the short term, Volkswagen was strong-armed by the dealers into providing a larger shipment of 2017 Golf Alltracks, a recently-announced variant of the Golf SportWagen, in order to generate interest and (hopefully) increase sales.
Reparations are sure to be a key topic among Volkswagen franchise owners at the April 2 National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas — an event both Diess and Woebcken have said they will attend.