Dealing with the diesel crisis divides vw and car dealers

German VW and audi dealers publicly dispute the consequences of the diesel crisis with the carmaker and want compensation for damages.

"We have a scandal, and the way the group is dealing with it is unbelievable. One no longer pleads guilty for what one has caused", said the chairman of the volkswagen and audi partner association, dirk weddigen von knapp, in the current "spiegel" magazine. VW germany sales chief thomas zahn called the criticism of the dealers’ association in "automobilwoche" "unprecedented and damaging to the company’s business. Two years after VW’s emissions manipulations came to light, the company has hit back on another front.

According to its own information, the association represents the interests of more than 2,400 trade and service partners of the VW, audi and VW commercial vehicle brands – and is thus the backbone for the sale and maintenance of vehicles to end customers. This is one of the reasons why many complaints from car owners are directed against the dealers and not against VW directly. Association head von knapp said he understood customers who complained. "Of course this is a justified claim." the customers only became their right in the hand. Dealers, in turn, felt "let down" by volkswagen.

For volkswagen, the attack by its contractual partners comes as a surprise, the reaction was prompt and no less sharp. "Mr. Weddigen von knapp suddenly chooses to go public, this is unprecedented and not in the interest of the dealership partners, but irresponsible and damaging to the business of the dealership organization, the volkswagen group and its brands," reads the statement from sales chief zahn. The relationship between dealers and carmakers is not free of tension anyway, but neither side has usually taken the dispute into the open.

At the moment, however, it’s not just about the many complaints from customers who have been taken for a ride, it’s also about the diesel itself. The diesel crisis puts pressure on vehicle prices. The handler became that above all with jerk runners from leasing contracts traces. "If the dealer even manages to sell such a jerky car right away, he now makes a loss of up to 3,000 euros, depending on the type, compared to the residual value with which he had calculated the car before the diesel crisis," von knapp told the "spiegel" newspaper. Sales director zahn disagrees. "From our point of view, the presentation of the various topics does not correspond to the facts and the information that is publicly available."

Zahn, however, also said they were aware of the "challenging situation of the trade". "Our most important goal is to counteract this and win back trust," wrote zahn. There is a close exchange with the association. "For the reasons mentioned above, mr. Weddigen’s statements about knapp are incomprehensible to us."In june, VW invited dealers from all over the world to a congress in berlin to find ways to a successful future for VW and the trade. Now the mood has reached a low point.