The move is designed to strengthen VW's retail network and lower recruitment costs, but the wording has caused concern with some managers who implied a “big brother” attitude.
A VW spokeswoman insisted business leaders would not be imposed on dealers. She said VW was helping retailers to save recruitment costs by appointing an agency to “create a pool of potential brand managers for retailers to choose from”.
VW believes quality managers from “inside and outside the industry” would be attracted more by the VW brand than the dealer name.
Meanwhile the European court of justice has fined VW a record £57m for preventing dealers in Italy from selling to customers from other European countries. Industry sources believe the verdict could trigger other cases.