NADA: Horns departure from VWoA a significant blow to dealers

NADA: Hornês departure from VWoA a •significant blowê to dealers

When President and CEO Michael Horn left Volkswagen of America, many dealers were surprised and disappointed. NADA issued a strongly worded statement that called on top VW AG officials to meet with dealers at the upcoming NADA Convention to explain the brandês vision of its future in the United States. Horn had clashed with management earlier over his plan to offer extra incentives to dealers to sell gasoline-powered cars after the diesel emissions scandal. His job will be taken over temporarily by Hinrich Woebcken, who had recently been named head of the North American region.

NADA called Hornês departure a –significant blow to the VW dealer network, which has been operating in crisis mode for more than six months.” The statement continued, –Whatês most regrettable about Mr. Hornês departure is that it leaves more questions than answers for the 652 Volkswagen dealers across the U.S.”

The emissions scandal, said NADA, –has not only negatively impacted dealership profitability due to a limitation of product available to sell, but, more significantly, has severely damaged the reputation of the brand in the eyes of consumers damage we all know could take many years to overcome.”

NADA said it is important for VW to honor the product plan that Horn and dealers fought for at the Wolfsburg conference. –U.S. dealers have made significant investments in buildings, technology and people over the past several years based on these product commitments that we hope are not in jeopardy.”

In California, officials of the California Air Resources Board are considering allowing VW drivers to get a partial repair on their diesels rather than requiring the automaker to buy back the defective cars and scrap them. A regulatory official said at a legislative hearing that VW apparently is not able to do a complete repair.

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