VW dealers complain about slow sales of the new Golf; VW attempts to boost Phaeton sales

Wolfsburg. Sales of the new Golf are slow, according to an Automobilwoche survey of German VW dealers.

"We sold only half the number of the new models than we had planned," Franz Frank, sales manager at the dealer Autohaus Christl in Munich, said.

VW Baden-Auto in Freiburg also said that business was "worse than expected."

VW Lutz in Stuttgart and the VW center Augsburg both say that sales of the new model are slow.

A spokesman for VW Gehlert in Freiburg complained that VW has no plans to boost Golf sales in the spring.

Autohaus Voigt in Dortmund said its customers are showing a strong disinclination to buy new Golfs.

In Magdeburg, Rostock and Hamburg most of the dealers questioned also seemed disappointed.

"The trade is deeply frustrated that VW can't deal with the problem of the large numbers of re-imports," said Dirk Weddigen at Knapp.

Weddigen is also the advisory board spokesman on VW issues for the VW/Audi dealer association.

He said new dealer contracts "noticeably restrict" dealers' leeway to offer discounts to customers.

To boost Golf V sales before the end of the year, the VW region South has negotiated with VW a "market share hedging" premium of 500 euros for Golf sales.

Dealers also are annoyed that new Golf with extras are not yet available.

Extras such as automatic transmission, Xenon light and trailer coupling will only be available in a few months.

Meanwhile VW will abandon its so-called performance centers to counter slow sales of the luxury Phaeton sedan.

From now on all VW dealers will be authorized to sell Phaetons.

The number of service centers has been increased to 450 nationwide and there are plans for a further increase.

VW has also incresed dealers' basic margins for Phaeton sales.

These were 7 percent for performance centers and 4 percent for "ordinary" dealers. Now all dealers get 8 percent.

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