According to Automotive News, Volkswagen recently revealed that it will provide a 50-percent "factory match" to U.S. dealers that are prepping to sell the automaker's upcoming family of EVs. In addition, VW may offer 75 percent matches to dealers that market the cars in their local areas.
This is all due to the fact that it's difficult for legacy automakers to sell electric cars if their dealer networks aren't prepared, educated, and on board with the new vehicles. No matter how much a manufacturer markets these cars, if the dealers aren't ready and willing to sell them, overall success may be limited.
During recent talks about VW's upcoming ID4 all-electric SUV, Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh shared:
"We want to make sure dealers are ready for electrification. So we are going to financially invest with our dealers to make sure our dealer body is ready."
He made a point that it's critical for the dealers to be ready in terms of having their facilities adequately prepped, as well as marketing initiatives in place. This means dealers will need charging infrastructure installed, along with training and tools related to EV repair and maintenance. However, with some 650 dealerships throughout the U.S., he understands that some will have a greater opportunity to sell EVs than others, so the new program will keep that in mind as funding and support are granted. Keogh continued:
"We have a varied network, from dealers selling 2,000 cars a year to dealers doing 30,000 or 40,000 cars. We know that electrification is not going to be 100 percent equal in all markets."
As far as marketing is concerned, VW plans to set up a joint fund for dealers to use toward local events and outreach. Keogh emphasized the importance of transparency and modern marketing strategies in selling vehicles like the ID4.
It's important to note that the new VW program has already received positive reinforcement from several dealers. However, Volkswagen Dealer Advisory Council Chairman John Luciano made it clear that the program will be completely voluntary, though he doesn't expect many VW dealers to avoid it completely.