VW to invest in German dealerships

Wolfsburg. Volkswagen group plans to put money into as many as 50 locations of its German dealer network, but the automaker isn't providing details on its planned investments. "It could be anything, from shares of 26 percent to a total takeover," said brand director Detlef Wittig. "We are deliberately not considering the founding of subsidiaries."

The background to this decision, which had been discussed with the VW/Audi dealer association, is VW's concern for strategically important locations, where, for example, a succession strategy for an elderly owner can not be found. In future the VW Group will be able to take over such a business if "a replacement could not be found," Germany sales boss Fred Kappler explained.

VW can also fully engage itself at plant outlets, as it recently did at the Osterkamp group in Eastern Friesland in northwest Germany. "Otherwise the whole region around our plant in Emden would have been without Volkswagen representation," Kappler told Automobilwoche.

In 1992 Volkswagen, in what has been considered an exception, took over the troubled Raffay group in Hamburg. Now, Automobilwoche has learned that VW is considering a partnership with the Hahn-Lang group in Swabia in southern Germany. Wittig and Kappler declined to comment on this.

The last details for VW's new dealer contracts will be discussed at a meeting on July 24. Both sides seem to be prepared to compromise. With regard to fleet business, dealer spokesman Michael Lamle said sales partners don't mind that theVW Group will soon be able to handle this directly. There is a special clause in the contracts about this.

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