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Dealers across the U.S. have been in shrink mode for years, as auto sales have dropped to the point where many stores could no longer remain open. That trend should reverse itself by 2014, though, at least for Volkswagen, as that brand looks to improve its sales volume here in the States.
Wards Automotive reports that VW's drive to hit 800,000 U.S. sales per year by 2018 will result in an expanded dealer-base. In the near term, VW is looking at evolutionary changes to its 588 U.S. dealers to handle increased volume, but VW CEO Jonathan Browning said "radical change" will be in order as sales really start to take off.

How many dealers represents "radical change?" Browning isn't interested in forecasting based on the fact that he doesn't know how healthy the U.S. auto industry will be in seven years. But Browning did talk about new products and technology during an interview at the Passat launch in Chattanooga, TN, and the chief executive sees a seven-passenger vehicle in our future. One option could be a new Microbus based off the Bulli concept from the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. He also claims that 20 percent of Volkswagen's overall volume in the U.S. will pack clean diesel tech. The oil-burning engines won't be featured across the entire model lineup, but could make up significant volume for vehicles like the Jetta and Golf.

[Source: Wards Automotive]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Improve your products before you start restructuring dealerships.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago

      We love our VW Touareg. It handles like a car, laughs at ice and snow and has excellent reliability.
      • 4 Years Ago
      With this latest round of VW designs, I think these guys are dreaming.
      They are the worst looking set of cars out there. The last few years they had great hits, then they went SO vanilla, it wont appeal to people.

      They're market share will shrink, mark my words.
        • 4 Years Ago
        While I disagree with your "worse looking set of cars out there" for VW's. You are entitled to your own opinion. Personally I think most of 'em look fantastic, especially for 'non-premium' status.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well sure, as a Honda/Acura owner for years I can attest to their crappy looks and design as of late. That said people are giving up looks for quality with Honda.

        That said if I like mechanical headaches but looks I would have gone for VW. Now they have nothing. Bays full of crappy cars and no looks. And my favorite as I was about to get a CC, (from the dealers mouth) well it has ipod and bluetooth but it does not really work!!!! What?

        Good luck Vdub.
        • 4 Years Ago
        VW has the worst looking cars?

        Have you SEEN a 2011 Honda lately???
      • 4 Years Ago
      VW needs to clean up their dealers. I have had a bitter experience with a dealer service dept here in south ga. Great cars but lousy service dept will not bode well for vw regardless of all the pr they push. I for one regret buying vw.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dear VW,

      Get rid of Suntrup South County. They are horrible people and are ranked an F by the BBB. If you've ever been in there you know what I mean.


      Sincere in St. Louis
      • 4 Years Ago
      VW really is ahead of the game. Most other companies worry about making compelling products that people want to buy and then expand their retail operations as increasing volume dictates. VW has made up its mind that it will sell 800,000 cars in the US each year, whether Americans buy them or not.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "He also claims that 20 percent of Volkswagen's overall volume in the U.S. will pack clean diesel tech."

      Hmmm, all could be forgiven!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good point, Lars. But maybe not all is forgiven. VW should spend every ounce of energy and resources available on improving reliability. My experience is surely not everyone's but every Japanese car I bought never had to see the inside of the dealer again, so it didn't matter what kind of service they offered.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here we go again.

      Seems to irk VW that the US doesn't love their cars like the rest of the world does. Well, good luck, you're gonna need it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would seem from experience that the larger dealerships have more, better trained employees with good customer service experience. That applies to sales staff, service advisors and managers. But most importantly they also tend to have more master and specialist technicians. Even in this thread you hear about how customers were unhappy with the service at the dealership in Anytown, USA; I think it happens a lot less in metro areas. Then again, the people most likely to say anything about an experience at a dealership are the ones that were unhappy...

      As far as the "radical" changes that will be taking place, I can only guess that they will be adding dealerships as opposed to expanding the existing ones to handle the additional volume of customers. As far as I'm concerned they should be doing more to acquire and maintain more quality employees, it really makes all the difference.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Interesting that such a press-piece came out on the heels of the critical CR piece.

      Remember, we are dumb and mouldable 'mericans who haven't noticed any problems with dealers or repairs, or the lack of models we asked for, or on and on and on. Sounds like "Look!! Over there!!! as they try and sweep away the issues we are on about. Hey VW, try something we haven't seen a thousand times before, you know, maybe at least make it interesting while we laugh over our beers at your latest PR crap.
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