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    • By William Maley
      Cadillac is offering 400 of its smallest dealers a buyout if they don't want to be part of the ambitious and contentious Project Pinnacle.
      Automotive News reports the offers will range from $100,000 to $180,000. The dealers eligible for the buyout sold less than 50 new Cadillac models in 2015. While the 400 dealers make up 43 percent of Cadillac's total number of dealers in the U.S. (around 925), this group only made up 9 percent of total sales last year.
      Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said the buyouts is to give those an alternative who don't want to forward with the new program.
      “This is going to be a long, arduous and challenging journey and certainly not one for the faint-hearted. Some people may choose to make life a little easier than what lies ahead,” said de Nysschen.
      de Nysschen did say while Cadillac has too many dealers compared to their rivals, the buyout program isn't meant to be seen as a way to get rid of low-volume dealers. 
      Project Pinnacle is a new incentive program that will separate dealers into five tiers based on sales volume. Each tier offers a varying level of customer perk along with different requirements for services and facilities. For example, small stores cannot stock vehicles on site. Instead, they would offer a virtual showroom for customers to explore and order a vehicle. This program has gotten backlash from dealer groups, saying it would violate franchise laws and be unfair to the smaller dealers. 
      Those who have been offered the buyout have until November 21st to either take it or move forward with Project Pinnacle, which is expected to begin January 1st.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
       

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    • By William Maley
      Cadillac is offering 400 of its smallest dealers a buyout if they don't want to be part of the ambitious and contentious Project Pinnacle.
      Automotive News reports the offers will range from $100,000 to $180,000. The dealers eligible for the buyout sold less than 50 new Cadillac models in 2015. While the 400 dealers make up 43 percent of Cadillac's total number of dealers in the U.S. (around 925), this group only made up 9 percent of total sales last year.
      Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said the buyouts is to give those an alternative who don't want to forward with the new program.
      “This is going to be a long, arduous and challenging journey and certainly not one for the faint-hearted. Some people may choose to make life a little easier than what lies ahead,” said de Nysschen.
      de Nysschen did say while Cadillac has too many dealers compared to their rivals, the buyout program isn't meant to be seen as a way to get rid of low-volume dealers. 
      Project Pinnacle is a new incentive program that will separate dealers into five tiers based on sales volume. Each tier offers a varying level of customer perk along with different requirements for services and facilities. For example, small stores cannot stock vehicles on site. Instead, they would offer a virtual showroom for customers to explore and order a vehicle. This program has gotten backlash from dealer groups, saying it would violate franchise laws and be unfair to the smaller dealers. 
      Those who have been offered the buyout have until November 21st to either take it or move forward with Project Pinnacle, which is expected to begin January 1st.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
       
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen and their U.S. dealers have had a tense relationship since the diesel emission scandal broke. From the departure of Michael Horn to dealer meetings where tough questions were being asked to Volkswagen executives. But it seems some progress is being made on repairing it. 
      In a statement released today, Volkswagen announced they have reached an “agreement in principle” with its dealers over compensation for losses due to the diesel emission scandal. According to Automotive News, the preliminary agreement will see dealers get a cash payout within 18 months from a settlement fund. The payout for each dealer will be determined by a formula that is currently being worked out. Volkswagen has also agreed to purchase "“unfixable, used” diesel vehicles from dealer inventory under the same terms as buyback offers for consumers".
      This settlement comes after a group of Volkswagen dealers filed a lawsuit against the German automaker back in April.
      The settlement is still being finalized and will need to get the approval of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco before anything else can happen. Volkswagen says they hope to have everything finalized by September.
      “We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen in a statement.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Volkswagen
      Press Release is on Page 2
      Volkswagen and VW-Branded Franchise Dealers in the U.S. Reach Agreement in Principle to Resolve Diesel Litigation
      Herndon, VA - August 25, 2016 - Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (“Volkswagen”) today announced it has reached an agreement in principle to resolve the claims of VW-branded franchise dealers in the United States relating to TDI vehicles affected by the diesel matter and other matters asserted concerning the value of the franchise. Volkswagen has agreed to make cash payments and provide additional benefits to the dealers to resolve alleged past, current and future claims of losses in franchise value. Volkswagen and the dealers’ counsel will now work to finalize details of the proposed settlement, including how to apportion payments to dealers in the appropriate manner.
      Details of the agreement in principle are still under discussion and are expected to be finalized at the end of September. Any proposed agreement will become effective only after approval by the Court, and the parties have agreed to keep further terms confidential as they work to finalize the agreement. Under the agreement, Volkswagen will consent to the certification – for settlement purposes only – of a class of VW-branded franchise dealers in the United States as of an agreed date. 
      “We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “Our dealers are our partners and we value their ongoing loyalty and passion for the Volkswagen brand. This agreement, when finalized, will strengthen the foundation for our future together and further emphasize our commitment both to our partners and the U.S. market.”
      Steve Berman, Managing Partner of the dealers’ counsel Hagens Berman, said, “Our clients recognized the best solution would be one that not only allows them to recoup lost franchise value and continue to employ thousands of American workers, but one that also charts a strong course for the recovery of the Volkswagen brand in the United States.”  Berman added, “Now that there is a path forward for dealers, they can continue to work proactively to take great care of their customers, who are also VW customers.”
      The plaintiffs filed the initial complaint against Volkswagen on April 6, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The litigation was subsequently transferred to the multidistrict proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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