Volkswagen AG’s latest models were shown off to a group of US dealers who were flown to its Wolfsburg, Germany headquarters. As part of a plan to increase US sales, VW is trying to get these dealers interested in opening franchises.
One of those on the trip is Rene Isip, who owns a Honda Motor Co. dealership in Dallas as well as a Toyota Motor Corp. dealership. He said that on March 28, VW paid to fly more than a dozen US dealers to attend meetings.
Isip revealed that Christian Klingler, VW’s sales chief, showed them its new models. At the same time, the attendees were informed that VW requires more franchises so that it can reach its growth targets.
VW has set a goal that by 2018, it would already have sold 800,000 vehicles, including Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini models, in the U.S. Last year, VW sales in the US totaled 360,179 units. Its new Passat midsize sedan will soon be built at a plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.
VW expects that its new Passat will sell 150,000 units. Spokesman Tony Cervone said that the dealer meeting wasn’t an unusual practice and he also denied that VW has urgent plans to add dealerships.
He explained that if the company is able to hit sales targets, it’s likely that it will begin to expand its dealer network sometime in 2015.
Isip said that during the meeting, VW executives tried to interest them to the franchises but there was discussion on specific plans to sign them up. He shared that because of this meeting, he will do what’s required to be a VW dealer right away.