The Volkswagen ID. Buzz, long a highly desired future electric vehicle with strong ties to the past, is coming to America. I talked with a Volkswagen exec several years ago about the Buzz. He was curious if I thought the Buzz would be popular in the US, and more importantly, if it would sell here. That was the question, and still is.
The original VW Bus was extremely popular in large part because it was so cheap. While the ID. Buzz is a throwback to that cultural giant, one concern has been that it won’t be cheap. In a sense, although it is designed to be similar, it is very different in what it’s offering. That said, what I’ve long thought is that a good portion of the generation that was young and enjoying themselves when the Bus was new now have a lot more money and can splurge on a fancier, newer, electric version of the vehicle. Also, for those of us who are younger but have some kind of cultural attraction to the vehicle in our blood, there’s also money to throw at one of the most unique, appealing, versatile electric vehicles on the market.
But no one wants to be ripped off.
One concern for those of us who have watched the auto dealer shenanigans of the past few years is massive dealer markups. If it turns out that consumer demand for the ID. Buzz is much greater than supply in the US, and I feel that is a very high likelihood, then one must assume that auto dealers will add really big markups to the vehicle. Well, Volkswagen assumes that too, and the company does not want to see that happening. (Hint: one way to avoid that is to send a ton of Buzz electric vans to the US, or build them here.)
Volkswagen of America CEO Pablo Di Si wants auto dealers to keep the greater good in mind and not price gouge if demand far outweighs supply, and he’s serious about it.
“We need to find a fair way … for the consumer and the dealer — there’s no overpricing, that the system doesn’t crash,” Pablo Di Si has said, Automotive News reports. Apparently, though, there’s no clear plan yet for how to combat that tendency and keep prices sane. The automaker has been in talks with dealers, but they are not settling on a solution just yet. “We have, I would say, another three to five months to figure it out. We don’t have the solution yet.” (I would just say one more time that if Volkswagen produced enough of the ID. Buzz for the American market, this concern wouldn’t exist.)
“Di Si says that he wants dealers to make money on the ID.Buzz, but not at the cost of the customer,” Jalopnik reports. “He sees markups as penalizing the customer. He’s so against price gouging on the ID.Buzz that he doesn’t even want to do a First Edition, something automakers have been doing the last few years to generate both demand for the product and extra profit for dealers.”
So, who’s going to win on this matter? Who gets their way when an unstoppable force collides with an immovable object? Price gouging, there will be? Or moderate markups, dealers will provide? We’ll find out when the ID. Buzz finally hits US shores.
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