WESLEY CHAPEL — The power of German engineering is coming to Wesley Chapel.
A 22,804-square-foot Volkswagen dealership on State Road 56 just east of Interstate 75 is in the works, according to plans submitted to Pasco County.
The dealership will sit almost directly across SR 56 from its fellow European dealer Mini, whose cars have been called the British counterpart to VW's Beetle.
"This is very preliminary," said Jay Doucette of Spring Engineering, the project manager for the proposed dealership. He said representatives from Volkswagen recently met with county officials to discuss their plans. The dealer will next submit more detailed site plans that show the layout of the building.
Doucette estimated that a dealership of that size would likely create 50 to 100 jobs.
The dealership will be owned by Scott Fink, who also owns Hyundai dealerships in New Port Richey and on County Road 54 in Wesley Chapel, as well as a Mazda dealership in Wesley Chapel and several collision centers in the Tampa Bay area.
Property records show the nearly 10-acre site is owned by the Logan B. Trust, Blalock Pasco Trust, and Robert W. Blanchard Revocable Trust Cypress Creek Group LLC, which lists an address in Jacksonville. Tax records show it is worth more than $2 million.
The Volkswagen dealership would be east Pasco's first. The county's only other Volkswagen dealership is on U.S. 19 in Holiday. Dade City is the site of an annual Bug Jam that features thousands of vintage Volkswagens.
News of the latest VW dealership comes amid a huge dip in sales for the world's third-largest automaker. According to the International Business Times website, Volkswagen reported declines in nearly all of its vehicles. Total U.S. sales for the month were 23,496, compared with 29,018 during January 2013, a decrease of 19 percent.
Volkswagen's small cars — the Golf, the GTI and Golf R — continued to "hemorrhage sales," which plunged 35 percent compared with the prior January, the website said. Jetta sales fell 7.2 percent to percent to 9,768 units while the Passat sedan sales volume retreated almost 30 percent to 6,236 units. Volkswagen saw its market share decline in the U.S. last year.
But if anyone can turn that around, it's Fink, whose Hyundai dealership in New Port Richey is among the nation's most successful.