Jonathan Browning, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, asserted that Volkswagen of America will have to expand its dealer network after 2014 in order to reach its goal to sell 800,000 units annually in the US by 2018.
VW, which is on course to sell about 250,000 units in 2010, anticipates sales of 450,000 to 500,000 in the next five years.
Next year, VW will introduce a new mid-sized sedan and a redesigned Beetle. Browning revealed that the current 582 dealers are capable of dealing with the extra volume but to hit the 800,000 target, VW has to “expand the footprint.”
Browning said that VW has yet to set its long-term goal for how many dealers it wants to add but he thinks that many of the dealers are “invested and are committed to growing.”
The new mid-sized sedan, which will be produced at VW's new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., will be introduced at the Detroit auto show in January. It will start selling in the third-quarter of 2011. Currently, VW’s sales are being boosted by the new-generation Jetta sedan that went on sale last September.
VW had cut the entry-price of the Jetta by $1,700 to $15,999, excluding shipping charges. Browning said that VW extended the price band so that it can attract new customers.
He said that the new price point indicates that VW is in reach and, with free maintenance, owning one shows to be cost-efficient. Browning said that according to early data, 60% of Jetta buyers are conquests, meeting the company’s goals. [via autonews - sub. required]