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Future of VW franchise in Bermuda unclear

Brand moves: Auto Solutions will do its best to service and repair VW vehicles for customers until the end of May. The company said it had been informed by VW of its intention to move the franchise to Ascendant Group, but Ascendant has said this is not the case (Photograph supplied)

The VW franchise in Bermuda is moving from Auto Solutions, but it’s unclear who is taking over the franchise.

In a letter to customers, Auto Solutions said it had been informed by VW that it intended to move the franchise to Ascendant Group Ltd. However, this afternoon a spokeswoman for Ascendant, the parent of Belco, said the company does not have an agreement with VW.

Auto Solutions announced the change as it welcomed the newest version of the electric Nissan Leaf to the island. Nissan is one of seven car brands that are represented and serviced by the company in Bermuda.

Glen Smith, managing director of Auto Solutions, said in a letter to customers that the company would do its best to carry out repairs and immediate service requests for VW vehicles until the end of May.

Mr Smith said: “We have been informed by Volkswagen (Latin America) that they intend to make The Ascendant Group of Companies (the owner of Belco their local representative in Bermuda. While we learnt of VW’s decision in early February, they have yet to inform us what arrangements have been made with Ascendant to service VW cars going forward.

“However, to ensure that your immediate service and repair needs are met, we will do our best to service VW vehicles until May 31, which is when our access to VW’s diagnostic equipment is due to expire.

“Thereafter, it will be for VW Latin America or their new representative to provide the necessary infrastructure and support to maintain the VW brand. While we are sad to say farewell to the VW brand, we wish their new representative well.”

But a spokeswomen for Ascendant Group said: “We cannot speak to Auto Solutions’ own relationship with Volkswagen; however, can confirm that AGL does not have an agreement with Volkswagen, or any other automotive manufacturer, to retail or service cars at this time. We regret that customers of Auto Solutions are being advised otherwise.”

Mr Smith, speaking to The Royal Gazette late this afternoon, confirmed that his company had been told on three occasions by VW about the intended switch of the franchise to Ascendant, and said it had also been mentioned at the Transport Control Department.

Auto Solutions represents and services the brands Suzuki, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda and Daihatsu.

Mr Smith, said “We are really excited about with our 2018 line up of cars including the introduction of the all-electric, zero-emission Nissan Leaf, named ‘Best Electric Car’ in London’s 2018 What Car Awards.

“Our first shipment of Nissan Leafs arrived last week and we are confident this spacious four door hatchback will be a hot ticket item in the local car market. Many customers have already been in touch requesting test drives and have expressed a keen interest in switching over to Auto Solution’s Leaf.

“The EV market is upon us and we are happy to lead the way. Our priority is to continue to be the leading car dealership in Bermuda. We believe that our high level of customer care and attention, our great staff and our exciting line-up of 2018 and 2019 cars, including award-winning electric cars, will keep Bermudians and residents rolling with us.”

Ths story has been updated to include a statement from Ascendant Group Ltd. Ascendant states it does not have an agreement to take on the VW franchise in Bermuda at this time.