And he credited the brand for jumping ahead of the issue.
"They've explained that they want strong dealerships, and that's going to mean new revenue streams, perhaps from things like mobility and car sharing" coming into dealerships, DiFeo said. "Any successful relationship between a franchiser and a franchisee works best when their goals are aligned."
Though discussions in Europe are further along, Stackmann said the results there won't translate "one-to-one" to North America because of the different legal requirements between the factory and the respective dealer bodies.
Stackmann said that while "the main body of income" for dealers will continue to be selling, servicing and parts as it is today, discussions are needed between VW and its dealers as a larger electric fleet threatens to degrade dealer profitability.
"You have to touch every element of your business model, but you have to do it together to find a solution that allows dealers to have sustainable profitability, and our customers to have much better service than today going forward," he said.
Woebcken said that even though the discussions with U.S. dealers are beginning now, the threats to dealership profitability from electric vehicles are still some time away.
"We're going to have a lot of customers who stay in traditional cars. By 2025, 85 or 90 percent of cars sold will still be conventional cars, so the change is not going to come from Friday to Monday; it's going to come over time," Woebcken said.