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Volkswagen Reaching Out to U.S. Dealers and Customers With Ambitious Crossover Plans

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author photo by Laura Sky Brown April 2016

As the fallout from Volkswagen's diesel emissions cheating scandal continues, the German automaker has taken steps in recent days to calm U.S. dealers and layer in some accountability at the executive levels.

Dieselgate

On Wednesday, the company announced that Volkswagen AG chairman Hans Dieter Potsch, along with other top executives, will be receiving a much smaller bonus than previously expected. Potsch had been VW's head of finance prior to being elevated to the top job in October. The agreement is to be ratified at an important meeting of the VW supervisory board on April 22. That's one day after a U.S. deadline for VW to finalize a major recall of the more than half a million diesel Volkswagens currently on U.S. roads.

Also at the April 22 meeting, VW's board will hear the results of an independent investigation by U.S. law firm Jones Day into the situation popularly known as Dieselgate. The scandal began last fall, as Volkswagen admitted it had intentionally set up software in its diesel vehicles to show better emissions results when the cars were being tested than in actual on-road use.

A New Strategy

On April 2, VW dealers met in Las Vegas with corporate leadership, who told them the automaker is committed to increasing demand for VWs in the U.S. market. The strategy for doing that includes bringing new and revamped crossover vehicles to American buyers. Among them was the new 2017 Golf Alltrack wagon, on sale later this year, and a redesigned, larger Tiguan SUV, scheduled for a 2017 debut. A new crossover bigger than the Tiguan is expected in 2017, as well.

While problems with emissions from its diesel powerplants are ironed out, Volkswagen has been forbidden to sell diesel vehicles since September. The company's sales were down more than 10 percent in March compared with pre-scandal sales numbers in March 2015. Numerous executives, including U.S. chief Michael Horn, were ousted as the scandal came to light last fall.

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Certified 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 4Motion
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Volkswagen Reaching Out to U.S. Dealers and Customers With Ambitious Crossover Plans - Autotrader