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Diesel issue challenges VW dealers to retain key salespeople

With the news of failed emissions tests and alleged knowledge of the shortcomings by the manufacturer, Volkswagen dealers have faced many challenges in the past year. For instance, an article in Automotive News discussed that through July 2016, VWs U.S. light-vehicle sales were down 14 percent compared to the first 7 months of 2015, while the industry as a whole posted gains of 1.1 percent.  As a result of the declining sales, it has been difficult for many VW dealers to retain their sales staff.

The dent in overall sales from the halt of diesel vehicle sales has hurt some VW salespeople’s pay and has created pressures to look to other manufacturers for employment.  The pressure on the sales staff to leave has also been amplified in many cases by poaching from rival dealers.  According to an article featured in Automotive News, salespeople from two dealers in NADA 20 Group received calls asking, “Do you want to continue to work for a manufacturer who’s been less than honest?”

Volkswagen dealers have been forced to get creative in order to battle the potential turnover in staff.  The managing partner of Camelback Volkswagen created a full-time customer relations manager to keep disgruntled customers affected by the scandal out of the showroom and ensure that the sales staff remain focused on selling.  He also started an annual employee survey and acts on staff feedback. Automotive News has more information on this topic.