Since last fall, Volkswagen dealers have tried to keep it business as usual despite the German automaker's revelation that it cheated on its U.S. diesel emissions tests.
To do that, dealers have had to tweak operations to not only keep customers, but keep employees, too.
"Whenever something like this happens, the focus is always on maintaining a good sales force," said Chip Maher, principal of dealership 20 Group consulting firm CWM Consulting in Richmond, Va.
VW's scandal is a black eye to the brand and has hurt its new-car sales. It's forced a halt to its diesel vehicle sales, and dealership values have plummeted to zero among some buy-sell advisers. Many VW dealers say that makes hiring and retaining sales staff especially challenging.
"Without a doubt, it's a little tougher attracting people to Volkswagen right now," said Maher. "There's a squeeze on hiring until the throughput starts coming up."
Through July, VW brand's U.S. light-vehicle sales were down 14 percent from a year earlier to 177,772. That's below an industry gain of 1.1 percent, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
In a statement, Volkswagen Group of America said that since the diesel cheating scandal become public, it has "maintained a regular dialogue with dealers and the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council to support their needs." VW declined further comment on whether it was helping dealers retain sales staff.