After three years as one of the fastest-growing car brands in the US, Volkswagen has hit a sales rut, and it can't get out. In response, Volkswagen Group of America downgraded VW's 2013 US vehicle sales target to 440,000, from the original target of about 486,000, reports Automotive News. The stair-step incentive program under which dealerships earn bonuses also was restructured early this month, yet VW USA remains committed to its goal of producing 800,000 cars annually by 2018.
There are currently 588 Volkswagen dealers in the U.S., and in 2010 they sold 256,830 examples of the brand's products. Come 2018, however, VW plans on selling 800,000 vehicles here, and the current dealer body just won't be enough. In April of this year Jonathan Browning, head of VW of America, said there would be an "evolutionary" increase in dealers for the next couple of years, after which a "radical change" would be necessary.
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.