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Volkswagen sales surge in US

Making its move: Volkswagen is enjoying success with its Passat in North America, where diesel sales are taking off.

Passat helps to propel VW to a 62 per cent sales lift in United States

General News logo5 Sep 2012

VOLKSWAGEN’S ambitions for world number one status received a boost in the United States last month when surging Passat sales triggered a 62 per cent rise in August VW retail volumes – the 24th consecutive month of growth for the German brand in the world’s second largest market.

Big Japanese manufacturers Toyota and Honda also continued their US sales recovery from last year’s stock shortages caused by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, reporting sales increases of 42 per cent and 60 per cent respectively last month.

The overall US market jumped a healthy 20 per cent, with even the Detroit big three motor companies all recording double-digit sales increases.

The US market is now running 15 per cent up on last year, and is on target to top 14 million units in 2012 – its best year since the pre-GFC days of 2007 when the market topped 16 million units.

General Motors retained its grip on market leadership, selling 240,520 vehicles – up 10 per cent on the same month last year.

Cross-town rival Ford came in second with 196,498 sales in August, just ahead of Toyota’s group sales – including Lexus and Scion – of 188,520 units.

80 center imageLeft: US-spec Volkswagen Jetta.

Chrysler Group has its best August for years, with 148,472 sales – up 14 per cent on August 2011 – with Jeep sales riding at their highest August levels for almost a decade.

While VW’s sales of 41,011 units were small by comparison to the market leaders, its sales momentum is catching the eye of the US market.

The company’s sales gains have topped 25 per cent every month against the corresponding month in the previous year for 12 months now, and its year-to-date growth is riding at 37.6 per cent.

The new Passat – now built in Tennessee – has been the star, with sales rising from a paltry 314 in August last year to more than 10,000 last month, representing a rise of 4219 per cent.

Interestingly, diesel cars comprise about 25 per cent of Passat sales, proving Americans will buy oil-burning passenger cars.

Sales of the Jetta small sedan – made in Mexico – are also up, by 6.5 per cent to 15,446 units, almost four times the sales result for the related Golf hatch.

As well, the company also moved 3451 new-generation Beetles, compared with none a year ago when the Bug was between models.

VW needs to become a major player in North America if it is to realise its ambition of overtaking GM and Toyota to become the world’s biggest automotive group.

The company has a large slice of the European and Chinese markets, but gives the other brands a big head start in the US and Canada.

In contrast to VW’s August sales success in the US, fellow German company BMW took a hit in August, with sales down 19 per cent to 16,835 units.

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