Volkswagen loses top dealer satisfaction spots as profits leap in Q3

08 November 2017

08 November 2017

The Volkswagen Group (VW) has lost almost all its top spots for dealer satisfaction across its brands, according to the latest Schwacke brand monitor.

In 2016, the Group, with its Audi, VW, Porsche and Skoda brands, occupied the leading position in each of their respective categories. However, for this year, Audi has given way to Mercedes in the premium market, VW is displaced by Ford in the volume category and Skoda by Toyota in the large importer market. Only the Porsche brand has retained its ranking in the ′niche’ brands category. For small importers, Volvo held its place at the top of the satisfaction charts.

On the whole, however, dealer satisfaction increased, reaching an average rating of 2.56, the best since the start of the survey in 1998. Last year, it was 2.62. Schwacke and the Institute of Automotive Industry, which created the monitor, see in particular the further growth in new registrations and the ′largely stable’ used vehicle business as a driver of automotive development. Furthermore, the satisfaction of the trade with the return on sales, which is now 0.2 points better at 2.75, is the best it has been since 2012.

‘The increase in these areas is proof of the fact that the dealers’ efforts to develop more professional and integrated processes in new car marketing as well as to work in partnership with the trade organization of some manufacturers and importers are viewed positively by the dealers,’ says Stefan Reindl from the Institute of Automotive Engineering, who led the study.

VW is currently in talks with its dealer partners over compensation claims arising from the Dieselgate scandal. Head of the VW and Audi Partner Association, Dirk Weddigen von Knapp, has spoken publicly about his disappointment in how the manufacturer has handled the situation, two years after news of the scandal first broke.

Meanwhile, the German manufacturer has said that earnings rose by 15% in Q3 2017, benefitting from cost cuts across the VW brand car division. Volkswagen Group said earnings rose 15% in the third quarter, benefiting from cost cuts at its core VW passenger cars division. Quarterly group earnings jumped to €4.31 billion from €3.75 billion a year ago, VW said in a recent statement.

The automaker has lifted its annual profit outlook and it now expects the group’s operating margin to moderately exceed a target corridor of between 6% and 7%, having previously forecast the margin hitting that range.

VW Group’s expansion of its line-up of SUVs, with models such as the VW Atlas, Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca, has attracted more buyers, helping the company absorb the ballooning costs of the emissions scandal and finance unprecedented spending on a shift to self-driving, electric cars.

Even as Volkswagen still faces numerous investigations and lawsuits from its diesel crisis, the company is ramping up spending on a €70 billion project to develop electric versions of all vehicles across its line-up by 2025.

Photograph courtesy of Volkswagen Group