Volkswagen's settlement payments to dealers hurt by its 2015 diesel emissions scandal have lifted the cloud over VW dealerships in the buy-sell market, but only a bit.
Consider dealer Darryl Wischnewsky. He says the monthly payments — which are to continue into next year — that he receives as owner of Volkswagen of The Woodlands, near Houston, part of his Bayway Auto Group, are fair.
But he frets over the future value of his franchise. So while he isn't looking to sell, he also isn't looking to buy another VW dealership anytime soon.
"It depends on the product," said Wischnewsky. "People are very forgiving these days, so I don't think the scandal will stop people from buying future VWs. If they give us good product, then we'll be OK."
Buy-sell advisers had hoped the VW settlement with its dealers, announced last fall and approved by a U.S. district judge early this year, would reinvigorate what had been a moribund market for VW dealerships. That has not happened yet. Few VW deals are being done. Still, advisers see signs of rising interest in VW franchises and a rebound in franchise value as settlement checks roll in to dealers and new product rolls out to showrooms.
"Volkswagen has recovered from the fiasco," said Moshe Stopnitzky, president of Performance Brokerage Services in Irvine, Calif. "Have dealerships come back to the same valuation before the fiasco? Probably not. But they're no longer on the blacklist."