U.S. car dealer groups want answers from VW on ‘alarming’ Scout announcement

Stanton acknowledged that Keogh had “been a consistent and full-throated advocate for the franchise dealer retail model,” but warned that “the longer your dealers go without information and answers to their questions, the more that speculation will fill the void.”

Stanton offered NADA’s help in distributing any answers “to the many state association executives, who are currently getting questions from your dealers.” A spokesman for NADA authenticated the letter and declined any further comment.

A number of state dealer associations — which work to protect franchise laws for their members — have either already written to Keogh or were in the process of doing so, according to several VW dealers and association executives from across the country who spoke to Automotive News. The communications are expected to vary in tone, just as state franchise laws vary, but generally demand more information on how Scout vehicles will be retailed and assert that VW and Audi dealers not be left out in the cold.

One example, sent Monday from the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, is believed to be broadly representative. In it, NCADA President Robert Glaser wrote:

“Despite repeated assurances throughout the years by Volkswagen that its dealers are ‘partners’ in advancing and promoting VW products, this announcement produced instant dismay and concern among all VW dealers. Certainly, given the strong history of a supportive and effective VW dealer network, even during the diesel-gate fiasco, the clear expectation would be that current VW dealers would be given the first opportunity to enlist as a Scout dealer. However, the widespread belief is that the underlying reason VW is planning to create a parallel dealer network is VW’s intention to reduce the VW dealer count.”

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