In a document sent to its entire retail network – and leaked to Car Dealer Magazine – the manufacturer asks its dealers their thoughts on the classified site’s proposed price increases.
An insider at a VW franchise said: ‘VW has asked dealers for feedback on the situation. I wonder if they’re looking for sufficient backing from their franchisees to pull all Auto Trader advertising?
‘Our cars get automatically loaded onto Auto Trader’s website and they filter the enquiries back to us.’
The Volkswagen bulletin explains the proposed increase is around 25 per cent and that if they cannot back the rise dealers would be forced to negotiate their own rates for advertising with the site – which could be considerably more.
The email to VW dealers says: ‘In August, Auto Trader presented to the used car departments of Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda, claiming that significant increases in unique visitors to their site in recent years outstripped the proposed price increase.
‘We have been negotiating with Auto Trader about the proposed increase and, before we agree to endorse the new rates, we’ll be seeking your opinion on this matter to ensure our response reflects the opinion of the whole network.
‘Auto Trader said that even after the proposed increase, their cost per view would still be cheaper than it has ever been.’
The email claims that VW pays the lowest group rate for its advertising of ‘any car manufacturer’ in the UK. The document contains the current rates the VW Group pays, but Car Dealer has chosen not to publish them.
The bulletin added: ‘We will seek your opinion on Auto Trader’s proposed price increase in the next few weeks. We want to ensure that our response reflects the opinions of the whole network.’
Auto Trader sparked anger among the dealer community recently when it increased its advertising costs at a time dealers were struggling.
Our columnist James Litton has been extremely vocal about the rises in his pieces for Car Dealer magazine and there is a growing feeling of unrest among dealers currently using the advertising portal.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts about the price rises by commenting below or tweeting the editor.