VW raises output for U.S., seeks more sales per store
LAS VEGAS -- Volkswagen plans to crank up production specifically for the United States 50 percent this year, executives told dealers at the make meeting.
VW brand aims to boost U.S. sales about 45 percent, or by about 150,000 vehicles, in 2012, dealers at the meeting said. Last year VW brand's U.S. sales rose 26 percent to 324,402.
VW spokesman Tony Cervone said the company doesn't comment on internal goals.
Mike Sullivan, a multiline dealer in Santa Monica, Calif., said, "They did a good job in 2011 of segueing into this number. While it's aggressive, it's certainly plausible."
To hit the sales target, VW wants to add stores and increase sales at existing dealerships by about 200 vehicles per store, Sullivan said. VW has about 600 U.S. dealerships.
"The bulk of the increase will come in Passat," Sullivan said. VW said it plans to build 75,000 more units of the mid-sized sedan this year. Last year, VW sold 22,835 Passats.
The Passat is built at VW's Chattanooga plant, which opened in May and has annual capacity of 150,000 cars.
Dealers said VW also will boost output of other important, high-volume vehicles, such as the Jetta sedan and Tiguan SUV.
VW also is pushing to increase diesel sales.
Dealers were told VW will allocate 30 percent of Passat production to the TDI -- a turbodiesel variant that has been in short supply since the car's launch in September.
Last year, diesel-powered cars accounted for about 22 percent of the brand's sales mix. This year, dealers said, VW hopes the diesel share will be closer to 25 percent.