Why do I sell Volkswagen?

I’ve been working on this post in my head for a while now, as its kind of difficult for me to get all creative.  Selling cars really doesn’t take much of an imagination, so putting together a thoughtful and inciting blog post is a tad bit difficult.  However in light of the fact that I just passed the ten-year mark here at McKenna Volkswagen it seemed like the time was right for me to put into words why I’m here and why I do what I do the last 10 years and 53 days (as of today!).

I’m certainly not here because its easy!  Commissioned sales in a competitive industry is a far cry from what most stability-oriented creative types generally go after for their livelihood.  I never looked at this as a career.  Many of my early managers and customers will remember my grand plans to get out of car sales and into graphic design or some other creative industry.  My degree in fine art will attest not only to that desire, but the reason I’m working in sales to pay the bills!  (I will say it did help a lot in putting together SoCalVWGuy.com though)  Honestly, I only got started with Volkswagen here at McKenna because I needed to pay rent, and I had a 1985 VW Golf that I loved.  I tripped and fell into car sales, and I’ve been here ever since.


Most of my customers know I’m not really into sales for sales’ sake.  One of my most over-used lines, is the truest I can come up with…

I’m here because I love Volkswagen, and I love people…

…Everything else is second.  I’ve discovered that to be successful in auto sales you don’t have to be a “Car Salesman” which is great because I’d have failed miserably at that!  I made a habit early on of understanding (as best I could) my clients, and trying to do what would have them satisfied with the experience long term, not just in the moment.  One of my other favorite lines is “I’m ok with not selling you a car today, as long as you say good things about me afterwards”  This means I might not sell you a car until next week, I might not sell you a car ever, but when one of your friends, neighbors or relatives talks about wanting to look at VW, I’m the first person you think of.

I love Volkswagen.  Seriously, I love what I sell!  My first VW was a “Smurph Blue” 1985 VW Golf with who knows how many miles on it.  I’m pretty certain that it  had around 220,000 miles when I sold it, but man I loved that car.  I took it to the mountains in freezing temperatures with no heater, drove it in 100+ degree weather in North Carolina with no AC which was so hot I had to pack a change of clothes for when I got to my destination because they ones I was wearing would be soaked with sweat!  I raced it at a drag strip (17.2 second quarter mile!) and moved all the way to California in it, driving across the country in the middle of August with that poor thing so stuffed to the gills that every time I hit even the smallest bump the back suspension bottomed out.  It was broken into enough that I just kept it with no radio, and my security system was to park on a hill so they couldn’t steal the wheels, take the steering wheel off, and just leave it unlocked so I didn’t have to worry about anyone thinking they had to break something to get into it.  Just left it wiiiiide open and undriveable!

Six Volkswagen vehicles later, my daily driver is a 1969 Volkswagen Bus, and every single day I get to leave my house, get in my dream car, and drive to work.  My wife and son drive a 2013 VW Passat, and I’m secure in knowing my family is driving one of the safest, best-built cars on the road, and having fun doing it!

One of my favorite parts of my job is showing customers what an incredible vehicle VW makes, the attention to detail even on the most basic of cars that will put a $50,000+ luxury vehicle to shame.  Not to put anyone else down, but merely to showcase the quality and care that go into each and every VW vehicle.  I believe in the quality of Volkswagen products, and I love sharing that with the people that come to visit my store.

On top of that though, is Volkswagen vehicles are just plain fun to drive!  In Volkswagen’s vow to their customers, one of the main points is that

…we believe owning a Volkswagen should be something to smile about

Its amazing to see so many people walk through the dealership doors with stories of their last VW, either the 2009 they’re trading in, or the 1950’s model that was their parents first car.  Everyone has some sort of VW story, and whether their story involves an old Cabriolet that was their first car in high school, or the Touareg they took to the mountains last weekend, there’s a profound emotional connection that I have never seen come from another make of vehicle.  Getting behind the wheel of a VW is not just about getting from point A to point B, its an experience, and its FUN.

SoCal VW Guy customers at McKenna VW in Orange County

I love people. Ask me about what I value most from my car sales career and I can guarantee you it won’t be about the month I sold X number of cars.  It won’t be about winning an award, or even being promoted.  It will be about the people and relationships I’ve been able to create along the way.  I have clients who’s children I’ve seen grow up.  I’ve had customers who I’ve been able to help get their first new car by themselves, their first new car after being married, and their first new family car when they had children!  I have customers that come in to service their cars two three or even 8-9 years down the road that still seek me out to ask how my wife and son are doing.  These are the things I remember, and these are what I value the most about what I do.

Its the people I remember and value, because through them I have learned that its not about just making another sale, its about building strong, enduring relationships.

My incredible (and patient) wife can attest to the fact that car sales is not an easy job, and requires long unpredictable hours and plenty of pressure.  However I continue to be amazed at how when things get tough, I’ll have a familiar face come in to look at a new car, and its like I just get to hang out with friends and talk about what I love, Volkswagen.  I’ve been blessed to be able to support my family financially selling VW’s for 10 years and counting, but I could not do it if it weren’t for all the amazing people I’ve been able to work with along the way.  Hanging out and talking about VW.

That’s why I sell Volkswagen.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

SoCal VW Guy (Danny) and family would like to wish each and every one a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!  2012 has been an eventful year, and we are grateful to each and every one of you for making my work at McKenna VW fun.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more, I love people, and I love Volkswagen, so combined that is what makes it worth coming to work every day.  VW is growing rapidly, with 35-30% growth, and the same expected for next year.  I look forward to serving you and your friends and family in the year to come.

Remember the VW Sign Then Drive is still going on through New Years!  Contact me if you or anyone you know would like to take advantage of the year-end savings!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

VW salesman, SoCal VW Guy

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays from the SoCal VW Guy family, Danny, Laura, Levi

MK7 GTI Full Release

This new VW GTI will be coming to the USA most likely as a 2014 model.  We’ll know more as we get closer to that time!  Here is the press release from VW…

New Golf GTI produces 217 HP in standard version and 227 HP with performance pack
Production version of seventh Golf GTI debuts with new progressive steering

Wolfsburg / Paris, 27 September 2012 – Paris is now the city of the Golf GTI. Four years ago, the sixth generation of the best-seller made its debut here – still as a concept car. Now, in autumn 2012, Volkswagen is presenting the seventh generation Golf GTI in a premiere at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris – also as a concept car. In doing so, Volkswagen is opening another window to the immediate future of the most successful European car model series, because another car being shown to a global audience in the French capital at the same time as the GTI is the near-production concept of the new Golf BlueMotion. The new Golf GTI will be launched into the market in early 2013.

One GTI, two power levels

217 HP and 227 HP. The concept of the next Golf GTI is powered by a further advanced engine from the EA888 series – a two-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine with 162 kW / 217 HP. A new option: for the first time in the iconic sports car’s history, a performance pack will be available as a factory-installed option. In this version, the engine’s maximum power is boosted to 169 kW / 227 HP. Both GTI versions are equipped with a Stop/Start system as standard, they fulfil the EU-6 emissions standard that takes effect in 2014 and – with a 6-speed manual gearbox – they attain the same low DIN fuel consumption of 6.0 l/100 km (39.2 MPG) (CO2: 140 g/km). Compared to the previous model (155 kW / 210 PS), the combined fuel consumption of the new Golf GTI is therefore reduced by 1.3 litres per 100 km or 18 per cent. A 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option for both power levels. The recognised high agility of the Golf GTI has been increased once again in the new model compared to the previous model – in two stages:

Stage 1 – standard GTI: The 217 HP base version now produces 7 HP more than the previous model. At the same time, its maximum torque was increased by an immense 70 Nm (52 lb-ft) to 350 Nm (258 lb-ft). This value in the new Golf GTI is exactly the same as that of the previous Golf R, which was powered by an engine from another TSI generation. Equipped in this way, the Golf GTI makes its appearance with impressive flexibility values: in fourth gear, the Golf GTI accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h (50 mph to 75 mph) in 5.0 seconds; in fifth gear it takes 6.0 seconds. Other data that must not be overlooked in a GTI: the new one accelerates to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 246 km/h (153 mph).

Stage 2 – Performance GTI: Those choosing a Golf GTI with the performance pack ignite the second stage. As mentioned, the car’s power is increased by 7 HP here, while its maximum torque is identical. The 227 HP of power enables a top speed of 250 km/h* (155 mph) and just 6.5 seconds for the sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph).

2014 VW GTI

New front axle differential lock and progressive steering

The performance pack not only offers a plus in power, but also a plus in handling: instead of 16-inch brakes, the GTI is equipped with 17-inch brakes here (with GTI badges on the callipers) and a front axle differential lock (VAQ) that is also being offered for the first time in this form.

Front axle differential lock. The electronically controlled lock has a positive effect on active safety and driving dynamics, because it practically prevents the power-related understeer that can occur in powerful front-wheel drive cars. This makes handling precise, and has a stabilising effect in load-alteration induced oversteer. The reason: VAQ increases the power to the wheel on the outside of the curve, which also optimises the vehicle’s speed through bends. Traction is also improved when driving on loose and wet road surfaces and in turning situations.

Progressive steering. The new progressive steering system is celebrating a world premiere in the Golf GTI. It is a standard feature for both power levels. Thanks to this steering system, the driver can turn the car through a desired radius with fewer turns of the steering wheel. In other words, the driver does not need to reach over the wheel as often. That may sound simple, but it is revolutionary. The reason is that conventional steering systems work with a constant gear ratio. The new steering of the Golf GTI, meanwhile, operates with a progressive steering gear ratio. This noticeably reduces steering work when manoeuvring and parking. On country roads with lots of bends, and when making turns, the driver experiences a benefit in dynamics due to the more direct layout.

Technically, progressive steering differs from the basic steering system due to the rack and pinion’s variable tooth spacing and a more powerful electric motor. Its functional difference: unlike with constant steering ratios, which by necessity always represent a compromise between dynamic performance and comfort, here the steering rack’s toothing is significantly modified by the steering stroke. As a result, the transition between indirect steering behaviour in the mid-range (straight-line driving) and direct steering behaviour at larger steering wheel angles is designed to be progressive, which, as mentioned above, enables significantly more agile steering behaviour in dynamic driving situations. This results in smaller steering input angles when parking for greater convenience and comfort.

Variable ratios have long been known in the area of hydraulic steering systems; however, the tuning of such a steering system is subject to very tight limits, so that the driver is not overtaxed by the transitional behaviour. With the Golf GTI’s progressive steering system the situation is completely different: the combination of the steering rack’s progressive steering ratio and the tuning potential of an electro-mechanical steering system is systematically exploited in the GTI to realise optimised steering behaviour that is sporty yet practical in everyday driving. In all other Golf cars, progressive steering is offered as an optional feature.

Exterior – features and styling

GTI insignia. Like all six Golf GTI generations before it, the seventh generation concept car being shown in Paris is distinguished from other Golf models by numerous additional equipment features and classic GTI insignia. On the exterior, these include the red painted brake callipers, a GTI-typical honeycomb structure for the air inlet screens, smoked LED rear lights including LED licence plate lighting as well as chrome 80 mm diameter tailpipes on the left and right. Some features have been characteristic since the days of the first Golf GTI, for example the production colours Red (“Tornado Red”) and “Black” and an optional white exterior (“Pure White” as special colour). Volkswagen has further developed the classic GTI wheels “Denver”, “Detroit” and “Glendale” whose styling characteristics from the previous model have flowed into the design of the new machine-polished 17-inch “Brooklyn” alloy wheels; they have a lighter visual look and are in fact lighter in weight. The wheels are fitted with 225/45 size tyres. 18-inch wheels will also be available on the GTI as an option.

GTI styling. Overall, the seventh generation Golf is also visually more dynamic than the previous one. The objective of the designers was to develop an even more striking and sporty character into the new Golf GTI – the goal was to give the GTI a lower, wider image with a more challenging character. Volkswagen Design developed numerous individual, detailed solutions for the new Golf GTI and integrated them harmoniously into the overall visual concept. Important here is the fact that the GTI-specific design elements are not simply “add-on” solutions, but are integrated into the overall design of the car. One significant reason for this is that the GTI was designed in parallel to the “normal” Golf – and this made it possible to coordinate perfectly the differentiating characteristics of the two model versions.

At the front end, with its LED fog lights specially customised for the GTI, a powerful and significant GTI element attracts attention, which has now been fully reinterpreted: the red stripe. In the first generation of the car it surrounded the rectangular radiator grille completely. On the sixth generation GTI there were two red stripes, which framed the grille at the top and bottom. Now, on the seventh generation car, the red stripe marks the lower edge of the radiator grille, but for the first time it extends further to the left and right, up to the housings of the bi-xenon headlights. So, the red line now runs completely across the front end.

In the far lower section of the bumper, beneath the crossbar painted in body colour, the black air inlet (with a honeycomb pattern screen) is no longer framed by a black area, rather by surfaces painted in body colour, which makes the air inlet stand out more powerfully. At the same time, the three lateral black aerodynamic fins beneath the headlights play a more prominent role in the front end styling. Another detail fitting in with the precisely contoured styling is the black splitter (lower edge of the front spoiler), which is familiar from motorsport. Also styled in black are the side sills and the rear diffuser. These quasi wrap-around black elements give the Golf, which is equipped with a GTI sport chassis (15 mm lower ride height), an even fuller stance on the road.

Another example of the harmonious integration of GTI-specific elements is the new roof spoiler design, which is considerably larger than its counterpart on Golf versions with less powerful engines and which is integrated to be flush with the bootlid and the body. For the first time, the sporty Volkswagen also has, in addition to the GTI badges at the front and rear, red plates on the front wings at the height of the character line with the same typographic interpretation of the GTI logo that has been used for decades.

Interior – features and appearance

GTI insignia in the interior. The very first GTI had this feature: seat covers in legendary tartan pattern. The sixth generation Golf GTI used “Jacky” fabric, and in the transition to the new GTI generation this has been redesigned and is now named “Clark”. Naturally, the tartan pattern was retained. The sport seats (in front, with sliding drawers under the seats) have exceptionally good ergonomic properties. Step in, sit down, adjust the backrest angle and the distance to the steering wheel, buckle up, and you’re all ready to drive. Nonetheless, the front seats also have height adjustment and a manually adjustable lumbar support. Red decorative seams in the area of the seats and the gear shift trim provide a sporty contrast; the black roofliner that is always part of the GTI emphasises the sporty layout of the interior.

GTI features. Along with its many standard features such as air conditioning, fatigue detection and the “Composition Touch” radio system (with CD card slot and AUX-IN interface), other GTI-specific features refine the standard version interior as well: typical of a Golf GTI are the customised sport steering wheel and a special gear shift grip. The latter is once again reminiscent of a golf ball, which also makes it a tribute to the first GTI just like the new leather-trimmed steering wheel design. The sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel with its three metal spokes and trim in high-gloss black has a lightweight look, and it is remarkably handy and easy to grip. On its two cross spokes it has multifunction keys as standard, and at its centre – in contrast to all other Golf steering wheels – it has a round impact absorber whose form is similar to that of the component in the first GTI.

Also making a strong statement is the GTI instrument cluster with a colour display and independent graphics of its instruments. It is no coincidence that it resembles high-end chronographs. The GTI-specific look of the interior is completed by red ambience lighting, special trim strips and panels (trim strips in the front doors with ambience lighting), brushed stainless steel pedals and foot rest (on left), door sill entry plates in front with a stainless steel application and ambience lighting that is also integrated here.

I’m in love!

I’m Moving Up!

I’ve been with McKenna VW here in Huntington Beach for going on ten years now (wow!) and most of you know that what I’m truly passionate about is people, McKenna, and Volkswagen.  Mr McKenna along with the general managers at the two VW stores have moved me to what is more or less my dream job with VW, Product and Customer Relations Manager!

Now, I’m not a big-time manager, I’m a VW guy, and as a VW guy, my main duty is making sure everyone loves their new VW, has a great experience at both our Huntington Beach and Cerritos locations, as well as some training for the salesmen.  Also, I get to continue with sales on a limited basis to my previous customers and referrals.  As I move into the new position, you can expect some big changes with socalvwguy.com, and the content I produce for McKenna VW.

I’m extremely excited about my new position, grateful to Tam, Steve and Mr Mckenna for the opportunity, and look forward to helping McKenna Volkswagen create millions of happy VW owners in and around Southern California!


Happy (Belated) 2012!

Happy belated New Year!  Its been a BUSY season here at McKenna VW, thus my lack of updates.  For a brief synopsis, 2011 was SoCal VW Guy’s best year ever!  VW is growing and building some amazing vehicles, and that along with great promotions has led to a lot of sales!  Many thanks to all of my amazing customers who allowed me to earn your business over this last year.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had made it back to the national finals of the Sales Qualification Championships for Volkswagen (Best VW salesman in the nation contest) of which I’m the defending champion!  I lost.  They only announce 1st, 2nd, and 3rd so I’m going to claim 4th!  It was a great time and a wonderful short working vacation I was able to take with Laura (my wife).

We’ve had lots of changes for the better here at the store, so stop in and say hello!  I’m looking forward to 2012 being even better than last year.  Please stay tuned as I have BIG plans for SoCalVWGuy.com!