WASHINGTON -- Volkswagen brand dealers are bracing for another month of pain after seeing U.S. sales tumble 25 percent in November.
The question now: When will it end?
VW withstood the initial fallout of its diesel emissions scandal, holding sales flat in October, the first full month after revelations of its cheating. Dealers, too, seemed hopeful they'd be able to sell their way through the crisis with the help of emergency aid from the factory, help that earned VW of America CEO Michael Horn a standing ovation at VW's national dealer meeting.
But as Volkswagen drifts into a third month of a seemingly unbound scandal, that tone is changing and dealer frustrations are bubbling to the surface. The absence of a ready-to-go fix, plus continuing inventory shortages and the prospect of more new-car sales pain, is stirring angst and even anger in VW's dealer network.
"This thing isn't getting better with time," said Alan Brown, co-owner of two Hendrick Volkswagen dealerships in suburban Dallas and chairman of VW's dealer council. "We don't have a fix. We don't have a timeline." The unknown, he added, is "what makes the anxiety of this even worse."