VW brand’s sales up 29% on Northeast storm recovery
The Volkswagen brand posted a 29 percent sales gain last month as customers in the key Northeast market headed to showrooms after Hurricane Sandy, helping give the brand its best November in the United States since 1973.
Volkswagen of America reported sales of 36,728 units in November, up from 28,412 units in November 2011 and enough to push year-to-date sales to 394,128 -- more than 100,000 units ahead of this time last year.
Driving the growth was the strong performance of the brand’s core vehicle lines. Sales of the Passat rose 75 percent to 10,544 units in November, and sales of the U.S. best-seller, the Jetta, rose 11 percent to 14,259.
Jetta sales are still off 5 percent for the year at 154,763.
Sales of the VW Tiguan were up 52 percent to 2,815, and sales of the Beetle increased 20 percent to 1,987, including the first four units of the new convertible version that Volkswagen unveiled last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Sandy slowed October sales in the Northeast, the largest of the brand’s five U.S. sales markets. About one-quarter of the dealerships in the region lost power, water or another service, and some lost inventory as well, Frank Trivieri, Volkswagen of America’s executive vice president of sales, told reporters Monday morning.
Volkswagen said it had little trouble restoring inventory after the storm, and those dealerships made up for some of their losses last month; sales in the Northeast were up 41 percent in November over the same month last year.
Volkswagen of America has tallied 27 straight months of year-over-year sales growth as it aims to triple the brand’s annual U.S. sales to 800,000 units by 2018.
Volkswagen Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning told reporters today that he expects the rate of sales gains to soften somewhat over time. Debate in Congress over taxes and spending also could disrupt consumer confidence after a “choppy” year for the economy, so the company is taking a cautious view to inventory in 2013, Browning said.
He said: “Steady growth rather than spectacular is our mind-set.”
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