“If they’ll play a game of basketball with you, eventually they may buy a car from you, too.”

So says Rob Noyes, founder of Noyes Volkswagen in Keene. He finds that strong, personal relationships in a rural marketplace makes for a robust, community-centric business. 

Noyes, after graduating from Keene State College in the ‘70s, decided to set down roots in Keene. He began with a small Volkswagen repair shop on Victoria Street and then incorporated Cheshire Tire into his business in 1990. In 1997 the Volkswagen dealership was built, where it stands now, on Production Avenue in Keene.

Most importantly, throughout those formative business years, Noyes was building community and trust. His employees formed a fierce pick-up basketball team that played weekly at the local YMCA; and his warm, gentle demeanor earned him a network of business supporters and friends alike. 

Not much has changed about the nature of this family-friendly business except for the cars.

“Back in the late ‘90s, we had Jettas, Passats, and Beetles, and that was about it,” Noyes recalls. Today, larger models of SUVS, including the Volkswagen Atlas, Tiguan, and Taos, have required some renovations to the original shop and showroom. With an additional 4,000 square feet, new lifts and electric vehicle charging stations, Noyes’ Volkswagen is ready for what’s to come. And just in time too, because Volkswagen is going electric.

In 2019, Volkswagen, which owned 70 percent of the U.S. passenger diesel car market, found itself in trouble for its diesel-emissions tests. The company, which had for years promoted “clean diesel” as an alternative to hybrid and electric vehicles, was selling cars with nitrogen-oxide emissions higher than the federal limit. The resulting legal action and fines changed the manufacturer’s course, focusing on the future of electric vehicles. Volkswagen began installing electric charging stations across the country. The cars to match are here and more are close behind. 

Volkswagen plans for 50% of all sales to be electric by 2030 and 100% by the year 2040. The automaker has been refining its hybrid vehicles during the last few years and is getting ready to roll out its latest spin on the classic VW Bus. 

The all-electric, VW “Buzz” has already created anticipation on the street, and the interest in its fall 2022 release has been building.

“While we have sold maybe 15 to 20 hybrid vehicles here in Keene,” Noyes says, “people are asking me about the VW Buzz almost every single day. This thing is going to be big.” 

Noyes sees Volkswagen becoming a leader in this sector.

“Unlike the Tesla, which has been out for some time, VW hybrid and electric models are and promise to be affordable,” Noyes said. With the federal tax break one receives when purchasing an electric vehicle, Noyes says these new models are just as affordable as any SUV on the market. For his own vehicle, Noyes pays only $10 in electricity each time he charges it for the next 260 miles. 

These cost-effective, environmentally friendly vehicles are the wave of the future, and Noyes says he’s proud to be riding that swell. From humble beginnings in a small shop in the heart of Keene, to a dealership ready to serve its community and be the face of change, Noyes and his team are excited and prepared for the future.

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