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VW returns to the SCV

After two-year hiatus, Volkswagen returns to Valencia

Posted: May 5, 2009 9:32 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Parkway Volkswagen dealership has been open since the first of May. The new dearlership opened next to the Infiniti/Hummer dealership on Magic Mountain Parkway.

Volkswagen is roaring back into town and the new dealership’s sales manager said he already feels welcome.

“It’s a shame Volkswagen disappeared for a while but we’re back and ready to go,” said Gary DeHart, sales manager of Parkway Volkswagen. After more than seven years of operation, Valencia Volkswagen shut its doors in 2007. It was replaced by a showroom expansion for nearby Valencia Nissan.

At the time, Nissan’s sales were on the rise, while Volkswagen’s were sagging — eight of the brand’s dealerships closed in California in 2006.

DeHart was general sales manager at the old Valencia Volkswagen from 1999 to 2003. The new Parkway Volkswagen will be part of the Parkway Supercenter family of car dealerships. Parkway Volkswagen, located on Magic Mountain Parkway, had its soft opening a few weeks ago and DeHart said in the last week, they’ve sold eight to nine new cars. A date for a grand opening has not been set, DeHart said.

“That’s really good, especially in light of the fact we haven’t done any significant advertising,” DeHart said.

But community members seem to be especially excited about the return of a local Volkswagen service center, DeHart said.

“People were travelling to Van Nuys or the (Antelope Valley),” he said. “It provides relief for people who were driving 30 to 40 miles just to have their vehicle serviced. The opportunity for them to come five minutes from where they live is welcomed.”

The dealership has also earned the support of local Volkswagen Beetle clubs.

“They come here, get together and go on long drives,” DeHart said.

DeHart doesn’t deny that economic times are tough on all auto dealers, but he credited the owner of Parkway for upholding successful businesses and also said Volkswagen is holding its own.

“Everybody’s affected — there’s no doubt about that. But the (companies) out there that have always done things right, are doing well and are profitable,” he said. “At a time when everyone’s handing their keys back to the factory or shutting down — here we are expanding (with Parkway).”

Don Fleming, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Auto Dealers Association and co-owner of Valencia Acura, also welcomes Volkswagen.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “The more dealerships we have ... the more cross-shopping people can do.”



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