By on June 29, 2016

TDI Settlement Program Executive Message to Dealers Cover

Volkswagen is making sure everyone is getting the right message today, and that includes its American dealers.

Thanks to a tipster, TTAC has obtained a video sent by Volkswagen of America executive to its dealers.

The video stars Hinrich J. Woebcken, who was installed as the overseeing executive for Volkswagen North America Region and President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. Woebcken took the positions after former Chairman of Škoda Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, who was tipped for the North American-level role, left Volkswagen Group. Woebcken also assumed the local Volkswagen Group of America responsibilities after the departure of former President and CEO Michael Horn.

In the message to dealers, Woebcken states, “First of all, please know over the past nine months we have been working very hard on many facets of this issue, including working with federal and state governments and regulatory agencies to arrive at a proposed solution to satisfy all parties — particularly our customers.”

The video then goes on to show how the automaker plans to “make things right” and “rebuild trust” with its U.S. customers. Woebcken states that the $15.3 billion settlement unveiled yesterday “offers a solution that puts the decision power in the hands of the customers,” detailing the three available options — vehicle buyback, early lease termination, or an approved emissions modification with vehicle retention. (Yesterday, Volkswagen revealed exactly what compensation owners can expect.)

How does the automaker plan to pull off the massive task of buying back or fixing 475,000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter diesel engines?

“Rest assured, there is a very detailed plan for executing this program, which will involve your dealership at critical customer interaction points, but will also include key support from Volkswagen,” Woebcken states. “Volkswagen executives will be providing…more information in a series of regional dealer meetings in the weeks of July 11 and July 18. These meetings will give you the complete details on how the customer and dealer processes will work, and allow you to ask questions so that you can be prepared for a rollout in early fall.”

The meetings will see dealer kits, complete with handouts, videos and infographics, handed out to inform dealer employees on the plan. Woebcken expects approval of the settlement to come in the final week of July, with more details on the timing of the buyback program and customer next steps coming after that point.

Support teams will help dealers once the settlement is approved, Woebcken states, adding that customers with questions about their options should visit the website for now.

Attempting to placate jittery dealers, Woebcken signs off by saying, “I’m confident we can begin making things right, and (I) appreciate the dedication of the entire Volkswagen dealer network. You are what makes this Volkswagen brand great.”

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29 Comments on “VIDEO: This Is What Volkswagen USA Is Telling Its Dealers...”

  • avatar

    I’m not very impressed with his office.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    They should install a car shredder at every Volkswagen dealer.

    Then customers can watch as their former ride goes to diesel heaven, waiting to be reincarnated in 2020 as an EV.

    • 0 avatar

      Naaah. They’ll probably file paperwork to repair the vehicles they buy back, write the papers, and then sell them to some third world country.

  • avatar

    Volkswagen – make things “right”?!! Yeah right…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    What about the dealers themselves? They’re the ones who *really* got screwed over in all of this. The customers will be reasonably compensated…but a lot of the dealers depended on TDI sales volume, not to mention that they’ve been holding onto cars they literally can’t sell.

    • 0 avatar

      Brand loyalty is typically pretty strong with VW (I am on my 5th one) and people will be standing in dealer lots with cash in hand, I am sure there will be some repeat customers.

    • 0 avatar

      Cry not for the dealers. When things work well, they make enormous amounts of money – more than any auto executive; more than any other sales businesses might hope to.

      But there’s risk; and this is one of those risks. These operators, now fired, slithered into responsible positions in an established company and abused that trust. Now the established company is going to lose hundreds of billions of dollars, much of its customer base…it may not even survive. And yes, the dealers got hurt.

      There was no way to asses this risk, say, ten years ago. The people who did it weren’t even in those positions and in some cases not in the company. It was a gamble; and the dealers lost. Along with top management which hired these people and then didn’t react fast; along with the Directors who’re responsible for having persons of integrity as officers of the company.

      Excrement occurs. I’m out of work right now for things I had nothing to do with; that aren’t even directly related to my industry. But it is what it is; and now a lot of VW salesmen will join me and a few VW dealers will be in Bankruptcy Court.

    • 0 avatar


      Were I a dealer, I’d be worried about taking another screwing. How is this program supposed to work? Customer returns car to dealer, dealer writes a check and waits for reimbursement? Nothing could go wrong with that plan, right?

  • avatar

    5 V-dubs? You must really be into BDSM. One is enough for me!

  • avatar

    240p? Can VW not afford a modern cell phone to record a video?

    Also, I bet Michael Horn is so glad to be wherever he is, and not working for VWoA.

  • avatar

    “The meetings will see dealer kits, complete with handouts, videos and infographics, handed out to inform dealer employees on the plan.”

    Question, will these kits include a tube of KY Jelly? They might need it.

  • avatar

    I wonder if a VW dealer HAS to participate in the program? Is the dealer going to be paid for the staff, space, and headache of dealing with this?

    Is VW going to give the dealers some money to make up for the service that they no longer can count on in the future? Most of these TDI’s are coming up on some nice expensive service mileage marks. And I bet that the VW dealers were going to get most of that business. Current TDI’s owners aren’t going to bother getting their cars serviced because is going to be scrapped soon anyhow.

    I also wonder if a dealer that is going to participate is thinking of how they can convert these owners in to buyers of replacements at that dealership?

    Can the dealer force owners to go through extra steps? For example, force them to sit through a sales presentation, before they get their check? Force them to sign extra paperwork?

    Have you ever had to suffer through one of those time-share presentations to get your “free gift”? I hope it doesn’t turn in to one of those.

    I have one of the TDi’s, and I expect that I will be forced to surrender it someday. I just envision being locked in a room at the dealer and not being allowed to leave until I agree to buy a replacement, or suffer some never-ending sales presentation.

    • 0 avatar

      I suspect that most (if not all) dealers will try to make the fulfillment of this as painless as possible – after all, the entire point of the compensation is to try and appease you, not further piss you off. You will be signing some sort of liability waiver before you get your cash, and they’ve already indicated that you will have to agree to the “fix” if you want the cash comp while keeping your car. My question is, will they just have you sign some sort of promissory commitment to bring the car in if and when the “fix” is available? Or will you have to wait – possibly years – to get your cash comp if you opt to keep the car? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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