Volkswagen of America Inc. has settled five Texas dealerships' legal challenges to its dealership incentive programs.
The dealerships contended the programs amounted to discriminatory pricing, which is illegal under Texas law. Their complaints were filed in 2003 with the Texas Motor Vehicle Board.
Volkswagen's Dealer Experience Standards Bonus and Sales Performance Bonus are paid per vehicle sold. Together they could result in a $400-per-vehicle price advantage, the complaints said. The bonuses took effect Jan. 3, 2003.
All five dealerships withdrew their complaints after reaching settlements with Volkswagen.
Four withdrew complaints on March 17, and one dealership withdrew a complaint on Aug. 3, 2004.
Terms of the settlements are confidential, says lawyer David Coffey of Austin, Texas, who represented four of the dealerships. Coffey refused to comment.
The dealerships were Autobahn Imports Inc. in Fort Worth, Hoy Fox Volkswagen in El Paso, Sterling Volkswagen in Abilene, Tranum Volkswagen in Temple and Herb Easley Volkswagen in Wichita Falls. They had objected to bonuses tied to sales, facilities and operating standards.
Three other challenges by Texas dealerships to manufacturer incentive programs have been settled in the past three years, according to Carol Kent, enforcement chief for the Texas Motor Vehicle Division.
Those cases were against Ford Division, Lincoln Division and Volvo Cars of North America.