BEV Top Seller for This VW Dealership

“The ID.4 has been a hit for us,” says VW Pasadena’s general manager Scott O’Donell. Not every dealer can say that about battery-electric vehicles.

Steve Finlay, Senior Editor

February 28, 2024

5 Min Read
VW 2024ID.4
VW ID.4 is top selling model at Volkswagen Pasadena dealership.

Battery-electric-vehicle sales are soft at many car dealerships throughout the U.S., but not at Volkswagen Pasadena, north of Los Angeles.

At the California dealership near the Rose Bowl, the VW ID.4 battery-electric compact crossover is the top seller. (No.2 is the Tiguan compact crossover powered by an internal-combustion engine.)  

The store was the No.1 ID.4 seller in the U.S. at one point. Now, it’s No.2, behind a San Francisco store, says VW Pasadena’s general manager Scott O’Donell.

“The ID.4 has been a hit for us,” he tells WardsAuto. “We typically sell 35 to 40 a month.”

Few U.S. dealers can claim a BEV as their sales leader. But California is BEV country.

BEV sales in other regions aren’t nearly as robust. But O’Donell says, “In Southern California, we do really well with them.”

However, it’s not by a fluke that his dealership sells so many ID.4s. It was by strategy.

“We were early believers,” O’Donell says. “So, we trained a couple of salespeople as ID.4 specialists.”

That was more than a year before the vehicle went on sale. Until it did, the store’s two ID specialists fielded many consumer questions about the upcoming model.  

“We became the go-to place for ID.4 information. We were appearing on social media and message boards. We became the dealer with the answers,” O’Donell says.  

Moreover, the dealership procured an early demonstration model months before the vehicle officially went on sale.

“We didn’t sell that vehicle,” he says. “It was available for test drives. That resulted in a lot of reservations.”

VW Pasadena’s early groundwork eventually paid off. It required postponing immediate gratification.

“It was a lot of work with no instant returns,” O’Donell says. He attributes the store’s eventual success to training salespeople, fully using that first demo car, getting the word out and being located in “a great area” to sell BEVs.

More electrified vehicles are sold in California than in any other state. Of more than 1.2 million deliveries of fully electrified vehicles in the U.S. last year, about 25% were in the Golden State, according to Cox Automotive.

VW offers a nine-vehicle lineup of five cars and four CUVs. All of them are internal-combustion vehicles except for the ID.4, introduced in 2022.

The German automaker plans to add two more BEVs in the U.S. this year: the ID.Buzz minivan (a modern take on the iconic VW microbus, officially called the Transporter) and the ID.7 sedan.

In SUV-crazy America, those models may not set sales records. But VW also is developing midsize and large electric CUVs for the American market.

WardsAuto confirms a VW pickup truck for the U.S. market is among future electric models currently in the German automaker’s early design stages.

Ultimately, the company plans to go all-electric, but is giving itself market-demand-related wiggle room as to when exactly.

Consumer BEV buying rates are not keeping up with industry production schedules or government mandate timetables, both of which may ease up if supply continues to outpace demand.

“The market appears to have reached a saturation point for electric vehicles,” says Karl Brauer, executive analyst for, a digital automotive marketplace. 

“On dealers’ minds is the transition to EVs,” Mike Stanton, president of the National Automobile Dealers Assn., tells WardsAuto, referring to the EPA’s proposed timetable. “We feel like it is going too far, too fast.”

NADA has expressed that sentiment to the federal government.

“Hopefully, we’ll see some changes in the right direction,” Stanton says. “But dealers are all-in with EVs. The proof points are the investments they’ve made. But we’re seeing consumers showing a little hesitancy, a little pump of the brakes. The EPA’s proposal of 67% BEVs by model year 2032 is kind of hard to see right now.”

VW’s own pivot to BEVs contrasts to when the automaker saw a bright future in diesel engines, but then got busted in 2015 for faking emission tests.

That was then. 

“We have a great EV future,” O’Donell says. “We’ve done well. I like the route we’re going. I like the models coming in. The ’24 ID.4 has some upgrades (such as longer driving range, higher horsepower and an improved infotainment system). It’s exciting to get it on the lot.”   

VW sold a total of 320,029 units in the U.S. last year, according to Wards Intelligence. That’s nearly a 10% increase over 2022.

ID.4 sales totaled 37,789 in 2023. That was behind segment-leader Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

VW’s best U.S. seller last year was the Tiguan (76,228 units). The company was relatively late to the larger CUV party when it introduced the midsize Atlas six years ago, but its American deliveries have been respectable: 60,859 for the 3-row Atlas and 34,816 for the 2-row Atlas Cross Sport, according to Wards data.

Petar Daniloeic, Volkswagen of America’s senior vice president-product, marketing and strategy, attended a recent VW franchise meeting of VW dealers at the 2024 NADA Show in Las Vegas. 

He describes the mood of the dealer crowd as positive. Topics included the BEV initiative and VW’s goal of soon hitting total sales of 400,000 a year in the U.S.

“We’ve done our homework,” Daniloeic tells WardsAuto. “We’ve prepared for this year and what’s to come. We see a positive future.”

O’Donell says many of his store’s early buyers had already owned an EV, such as a Tesla, Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf. “Now, it’s just about everybody.”
VW Petar Daniloeic and Scott O'Donell.jpg

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