Despite dealers’ wishes, pickup wrong for VW

This article was originally published HERE


Regarding “VW dealers need a pickup, and U.S. executives know it,” Larry P. Vellequette,, Nov. 26: Volkswagen dealers “needed” a minivan and got the Routan. Thud. Car dealers are notorious for begging for products, which manufacturers spend multimillions to a few billion to deliver, but are the first to run and hide when the product doesn’t sell itself.

As dealers have no skin in the game with respect to product decisions, they will ask for the world then forget all about those conversations when it is suggested they stock more, train more, incentivize and advertise more and put their own muscle behind their “so desperately needed” new model.

VW needs a pickup about as much as BMW or Subaru or Mazda does — that is, not at all. A pickup doesn’t fit the brand’s character, its customer demographics or its pricing capabilities. VW Group would never allow their logo to be put on anything other than a very well-engineered vehicle, which will price it outside the level of the competitive set — thus giving dealers another bit of executive elevator conversation, but this time it’ll sound more like, “We need some glove box money to make these damned pickups go away.”

SKIP REDMAN, Greenville, S.C. The writer, who is retired, served in a variety of roles for Volkswagen of America, including leading the product planning group.