GENEVA — Volkswagen is shifting up to 30 percent of its U.S. marketing budget from the national to the regional level to boost sales and support dealers, says Volkswagen Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby.
Jacoby declined to say how many dollars are being redirected. He said most of the funds will go to dealer advertising associations.
"We really have to put everything into realizing sales right now. It's about focusing and setting priorities in our marketing money," Jacoby told Automotive News last week at the Geneva auto show.
Supporting its more than 600 U.S. dealers is one of several short-term objectives for VW, Jacoby said. Other goals are maintaining its 2 percent U.S. market share achieved in early 2008 and reducing dealer inventory.
VW has a little more than a 100-day supply of vehicles on U.S. dealer lots. The automaker wants to return to about a 90-day supply by the end of the second quarter, Jacoby said.
"We cannot lose a significant amount of dealers during this time of crisis," he said. "We want to grow."
VW has said it plans to more than triple U.S. sales to 800,000 vehicles over the next decade from 223,128 in 2008. To reach those volumes, VW is building a $1 billion factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., that will produce a new mid-sized sedan beginning in 2011.