Hall: Dealers ‘want Scout vehicles to be in our VW showrooms’

This article was originally published HERE

Volkswagen dealers would have had a really good 2022 if not for a couple of things, the new chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council said.

First, the production shortage held sales back. Second, they were hit with a surprise announcement in May that Scout Motors will be revived as an EV brand, with products that VW retailers think should be in their showrooms.

Charlie Hall, president of Hall Imports in Brookfield, Wis., is in his first year as chairman of the dealer council. He said the announcement in May from Volkswagen Group establishing what would become Scout Motors as a separate brand in the U.S. took dealers by surprise.

“We were completely caught off guard with the announcement and then the lack of information that came after that announcement,” Hall said, adding, “We want Scout vehicles to be in our VW showrooms.”

Hall said VW dealers have been requesting for decades the types of vehicles that Scout plans to launch. The brand’s existing dealer network “can execute the Scout vision. And we have an idea of what that is, because we share that same vision,” he said. “We’ve been looking for that kind of product to be in our showroom for a long time. It dovetails perfectly with the rest of our lineup.”

Hall recalled the oft-repeated words of former VW of America and now Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh, who said dealers were a distinct advantage for a brand, especially for a fledgling one. Having a dealer network “is going to be one of the differentiators from the direct sell manufacturers,” Hall said. “We agree completely with that and think that we can leverage that opportunity with Scout, too.”

In other comments, Hall said the brand is supporting efforts by new CEO Pablo Di Si to grow the partnership between dealers and Volkswagen Credit, the automaker’s captive finance arm. A better partnership is needed, Hall said, to improve leasing competitiveness, which will keep customers coming back to VW showrooms and stocking its CPO program.

Otherwise, “We’re going to have a gaping hole where these lease customers used to be coming back to us that we won’t have. We’ve got to get back to that focus [on leasing], if we want to grow long term.”