Between last October and this summer, dealer Matthew Welch has been pleasantly surprised: He has had three personnel changes in his dealership -- two new hires and a rehire.
"I was surprised it was that low," said Welch, owner of Auburn Volkswagen in Auburn, Wash., about 20 miles south of Seattle. "Even in the normal course of business, without anything wrong, we get a half a dozen changes."
Welch expected higher staff turnover after VW admitted in September that it had cheated on its diesel vehicles' emissions testing. That put a halt to selling diesel cars, hurting sales at many VW dealerships. The VW brand's U.S. light-vehicle sales fell 14 percent through July, below the industry gain of 1.1 percent.
Diesel vehicle sales had accounted for about 27 percent of Welch's new-car sales. Auburn Volkswagen sells about 1,500 new and used vehicles a year. But the scandal has not dramatically hurt his sales or profits, and his staff has stayed put largely because Welch tweaked his operations.