Volkswagen of America has ended 2018 on a high note, posting a 4.2 percent increase over the previous year with 354,064 sales.
Strong demand for the redesigned Tiguan and Atlas SUVs helped offset declines in car models. All passenger car models posted significant year-over-year declines. Jetta fell 22 percent to 90,805 sales, Golf dropped 39 percent to 42,271, and Passat lost 32 percent to 41,401.
There’s hope for the Jetta, however, as the all-new model posted a 42 percent increase in December, ending the year on an upswing.
The Atlas three-row SUV rose 120 percent to 59,577 sales in 2018, with seven of 10 sales coming from conquest buyers. A good sign for VW is the fact that the Atlas recorded its best-ever month in December with 6,717 deliveries (up 11 percent for the month).
As for the Tiguan, it topped 100,000 units for the first time, ending 2018 with 103,022 sales (up 119 percent). Sales include both the all-new Tiguan (89,476 units) and the previous-generation Tiguan Limited (13,456).
“We’re a bit late to the SUV game, but we’ve responded very strongly,” Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen of America, was quoted as saying by Wards Auto during a year-end sales conference call.
Despite the significant year-over-year declines for the Jetta, Golf, and Passat, VW isn’t walking away from the U.S. passenger car segment which totals 7 million units a year. According to Derrick Hatami, VW of America executive vice president-sales and marketing, the new Jetta has held on to an 8 percent share of the small-car segment each month since launch.
“It does reinforce that there is demand for passenger cars – if you can get the product right,” Hatami said. Elsewhere in the lineup, the outgoing Beetle ended 2018 with 14,411 sales, down 5 percent compared to 2017.