The next chapter in Volkswagen's American story may have a lot to do with what transpires this weekend in a Las Vegas hotel ballroom.
It's where senior VW executives will face a gathering of dealers who have been stewing for years over unfulfilled ambitions, red ink and broken promises. They will try to make the case that they can rebuild the battered brand and justify the $1 billion dealers have invested in it over the past 10 years.
It may be their last shot.
"At the end of the day, we have to come together as a team," Alan Brown, chairman of the brand's U.S. dealer council, told Automotive News ahead of a critical make meeting Saturday, April 2, at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.
If they can't, Brown says, he won't be able to control how dealers react.
For now, there's a tense calm across the dealer network after Brown and two other council leaders returned from meetings with senior executives at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The delegation persuaded VW global brand chairman Herbert Diess to come to Las Vegas and address dealers personally, along with North America boss Hinrich Woebcken and outlined the key issues dealers want addressed. Among them: sales targets, product plans, allocations and possible reparations for the damage wreaked by the diesel scandal.