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VW beefs up dealer support

Volkswagen UK is recruiting a team of managers in key positions to provide better support for its retailers across five brands after a change in its employment strategy.

The newcomers will represent Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in field roles or at group headquarters in Milton Keynes.

This marks a shift from commitment to individual brands for the new regional, department, operational, area (including fleet), marketing communications and used car managers.

The salary range is £30,000 to £65,000, and Volkswagen is looking for senior managers who can help it to develop new business strategies.

The company employs around 500 people and has frozen recruitment for two years. To make room on the payroll for the new positions, Volkswagen is shedding jobs in some areas which do not directly contribute to sales growth.

The people involved are not replaced when they leave the company. A Volkswagen Group UK spokesman says: “The business is growing across the five brands and our strategy is to put more people into frontline roles. They will be flexible, so they can work for whichever brand needs their time.

“Our annual staff turnover is 6%, which we believe is lower than the industry average of 10%, but we have not been able to keep the front-line teams up to strength.”

Last year, a number of Volkswagen car dealers privately complained to AM that Volkswagen UK director Paul Willis issued too many demands for additional sales. The company denies the campaign to increase the field staff is connected with this.

In the important March new car market, Audi and VW increased sales year-on-year while Seat and Skoda lost share. Over the first quarter of 2005, Audi and Skoda improved their sales performance, while Seat and Volkswagen dropped back.

Volkswagen insists that UK Golf sales are in line with targets, but last month it cut on-the-road prices by between £150 and £910. Equipment upgrades include standard air conditioning on the entry S derivative.

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