A Moment Of Empathy For VW Dealers

October 16, 2015

As I read the ongoing coverage of the VW scandal, I can’t help but think of the early days at Pollak Cadillac.

My father and I became Cadillac dealers in 1985. My Dad had been a long-time Buick-GMC-Jeep-Renault dealer in Gary, Ind. Our new store in Elmhurst, Ill., represented our collective hopes and dreams for an even more successful future.

Our honeymoon didn’t last long.

Cadillac’s line-up didn’t prove as popular with buyers as we’d hoped. As dealers, we could only question the factory’s wisdom as customers didn’t like the product redesigns and shared platforms. For us, the used car department became the lifeline for our investment.

Thankfully, years later, Cadillac has come around, and its dealers are blessed.

I can only wonder how long it’ll take for VW to restore the confidence and faith of its dealers, and make up the market share it’s losing to rivals.

News reports indicate VW has been taking steps make things right with dealers. I hope it’s enough, and I feel for dealers their investment in the brand. I trust that despite the adversity, the best VW dealers will find opportunity.

Perhaps there’s a relevant take-away for every franchised dealer: Even when the factory deals a hand you didn’t ask for, you’ve still got to deliver for yourself.