It’s been a rough few months for Volkswagen of America which has gone into a sales lump after several years of significant gains. But that’s only put in sharp relief the maker’s relatively strong global sales report for the first nine months of 2013.
As a whole, the VW’s global sales increased by 3.4% during the first three quarters, totaling 4.88 million vehicles from January to October. In October alone, the brand’s global sales rose 2%, to 511,400.
“Deliveries by the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand made satisfactory progress in October despite the ongoing economic uncertainty in some regions. We continued to grow in the Asia-Pacific region where deliveries in China, our largest single market, remained very encouraging,” said Christian Klingler, board member for sales and marketing for the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.
Preliminary figures show that parent Volkswagen AG still has a steep challenge ahead if it hopes to fulfill a pledge to become the world’s largest automaker before decade’s end. For the first nine months of this year it continued to lag behind Toyota, the Japanese giant. Adding in its other brands, including Audi, Porsche and Skoda, VWAG sold 7 million vehicles through the end of October, compare with 7.4 million at Toyota.
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The slowdown in demand in the U.S. is one of several problem spots for the German maker.
Europe’s continent-wide economic slowdown continued to hurt VW’s business, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand watching sales drop 5.3% to 1.37 million units from 1.44 million units. And European sales dipped 5.1% in October just as the Western European car business showed some tentative signs of stabilizing for the first time in five years. Sales were also down in Eastern Europe and Russia, as well.
There was a bright spot, however. Through the first nine months of the year, VW sold more vehicles in China than it did in all of Europe. VW’s sales in China increased by 18% to 2.02 million vehicles were delivered in China. In contrast, deliveries in India declined 11% to 51,000 units, VW reported.
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But the real disappointment was in the United States, the world’s second largest car market after China, where its new diesel models have gotten rave reviews.
Despite sterling reviews for its fuel efficient diesel engines, VW’s sales dropped 4% during the January to October period – even though VW’s major competitors such as Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen all posted major sales increases.
In the broader North America region, Volkswagen Passenger Cars grew deliveries in the period to October by 0.9% to 513,100 thanks to stronger sales in Mexico and Canada. In the South America region, deliveries from January to October declined by 13.9% to 602,500 units. Much of the decline was in Brazil which is going through economic difficulties in recent months.