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Volkswagen: Four car dealers decide on a billion


Times are getting tougher for small car dealers. Now four major Volkswagen partners are merging to form a new giant – to the dismay of the competition.

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Four for Volkswagen

: A dealer quartet joins forces to form a new mega-dealer

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance / dpa

40 locations, around 40,000 cars sold a year, sales expected to exceed one billion euros: On January 1, 2023, a new mega-dealership for the car brands VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Cupra and Volkswagen will be built between Wuppertal in the west and Coburg in the east Commercial vehicles.

The four family-run automotive companies Marnet (Königstein im Taunus), Gelder + Sorg (Haßfurth), Göthling + Kaufmann (Hofheim am Taunus) and Best Auto-Familie (Mühlheim am Main) are aiming for a merger.

If the cartel authorities agree, the quartet will take third place among the largest independent German Volkswagen dealers behind Gottfried Schultz (71,000 cars sold) and the Feser-Graf Group (61,000).

The mega-dealer, whose future name is still unknown, is also sure of a place among the ten largest car dealers in Germany.

All four companies are to have equal shares in the new group.

The management consists

of Marcus


Frank Müller

(Best Auto family),

Frank Göthling


Niels Marnet


Norbert Sorg


They will continue to manage their previous car dealerships in the future and also control cross-group departments in a matrix organization.

The parties involved are also getting external support for the coordination of the major merger: Ostbayerische Mittelstandsbeteiligungs GmbH (OMG) is to help with the construction.

It is best known for the restructuring of companies in a critical situation.

In the present case, however, it is more likely to contribute its know-how to cooperative transactions.

Austerity measures are not planned for the new large group, according to OMG boss

Christian Just


The four car dealers want to create synergies through the merger, especially in purchasing and IT.

Due to the shortage of skilled workers, however, "unthinkable" is the need for personnel savings, says Just.

Consolidation has been going on in the automotive trade for years.

The shift to electromobility, the competition from new online dealers and direct sales advances by car manufacturers have recently increased the pressure on companies again.

In addition, the traditionally low-margin industry is suffering from the lack of chips in the automotive industry.

Numerous construction sites that many can hardly close on their own.

The Institute for the Automotive Industry at the Nürtingen-Geislingen University (IFA) recently forecast in a study that by 2030 the number of self-employed car dealerships in Germany would shrink from 6,800 to 3,800.

More and more car dealerships are disappearing from the scene

A merger of several companies that were already among the larger of the guild is still unusual.

And creates unease in the competitive environment.

In a joint statement, the quartet writes: "Since the planned merger became known, neighboring dealer colleagues have expressed their interest in joining."

Translated, this means that the smaller, still independent competition is afraid of the new giant.

On the other hand, the merger is better received by the Volkswagen Group.

"The manufacturers welcome the active future shaping of the four family companies - because they need partners with high investment power who actively tackle the challenges," says the statement.

Volkswagen CEO

Herbert Diess

(63) is of the opinion that large groups in particular will survive in retail.

Smaller ones, on the other hand, disappear from the scene, are bought up by larger ones or by the manufacturer's branches, or try to keep their heads above water as brand-independent car companies.

At VW in Germany alone, the number of sales locations has fallen by around a third since 2015.

With the switch to new sales systems such as the so-called agency model, the power of car dealers is shrinking.

Manufacturers are getting closer to end customers and are concluding sales contracts directly with them.

Traders become intermediaries.

The industry hopes to be able to prevent discount battles in sales.

Unrest is growing in retail.

Not only at Volkswagen, but also in many other organizations, such as Mercedes, Stellantis or Kia, there have recently been disputes between OEMs or importers and their dealers.

However, size alone will probably not be enough for retailers.

In an interview with manager magazin, IFA director

Stefan Reindl

(55) warned a few weeks ago: "Large and chain car dealerships do not necessarily do better in terms of returns - at least in terms of relative values ​​such as return on sales and department-related contribution margins - than individual medium-sized car dealerships. "

However, the professor explained that it is much more comfortable to work with the absolute profit sizes than with the small ones.

"Size is not everything, but without size everything is nothing."

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-07-07

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