1. Pasco

VW renews interest in Wesley Chapel dealership

WESLEY CHAPEL — Volkswagen, the world's largest auto manufacturer, again is driving toward a dealership along State Road 56.

Volkswagen of Wesley Chapel filed its proposed site plans with Pasco County last month for a nearly 28,000-square-foot dealership on Silver Maple Parkway, on the south side of SR 56. The site, just east of Interstate 75, sits nearly directly across SR 56 from an existing Mini dealership.

Auto dealer Scott Fink, whose properties include Hyundai of New Port Richey and a half-dozen other dealerships in the area, will own Volkswagen of Wesley Chapel. His real estate company, S & D Giant Real Estate, purchased three parcels totaling approximately 8 acres along SR 56 in 2014 and 2015 for a combined $5.5 million. His company also opened a Volkswagen dealership on U.S. 19 in New Port Richey last year.

The VW dealership would be the fourth to locate on or near SR 56, east of the interstate, joining Mini, Mercedes Benz and Audi. A BMW dealership also is proposed for the corridor within the Wiregrass Ranch development.

Volkswagen of Wesley Chapel first filed preliminary plans with the county in early 2014, before the German car giant became mired in scandal. In September 2015, the company was told to recall 482,000 cars in the U.S. after it was caught cheating on diesel emission tests.

Customers, however, remained loyal to the company, whose 12 brands include VW, Porsche, Lamborghini and Audi. In January, Volkswagen said it sold a record number of vehicles in 2018 — 10.83 million. In the U.S., Volkswagen delivered 354,100 vehicles, a 4.2 percent increase over 2017, a growth attributed the popularity of its SUV models.

Contact C.T. Bowen at or (813) 435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2.