WASHINGTON -- Small cars gave Volkswagen Group a big lift in June, as the newly launched Audi A3 compact sedan and Porsche Macan compact crossover paced Porsche to its best month and Audi to its best first half.
But the group’s overall U.S. sales still fell 8 percent in June as car buyers turned away from the VW brand’s aging Jetta sedan (down 22 percent) and Passat sedan (down 34 percent). Despite the launch of the redesigned Golf GTI in May and a heavy marketing push around the World Cup, VW division sales dropped by 22 percent.
It was the 15th consecutive monthly decline in the VW brand’s U.S. volume.
Mark McNabb, COO of Volkswagen of America, said in a statement that with the rollout of the remainder of the Golf hatchback family later this year, “we are confident Volkswagen will be back on the shopping list for more customers.”
Audi sold 16,867 units in June, up 23 percent. That includes 2,452 units of the new A3, part of Audi’s push into the “compact luxury” segment.
Audi of America President Scott Keogh told reporters today that Audi has gained 1.5 points of U.S. market share among luxury import brands since the launch of the A3, moving from about 9.8 percent to 11.5 percent share. Audi says it counts BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus as competitors, but not the Detroit 3’s luxury brands.
Keogh projected further gains with the diesel-fueled A3 TDI, the high-performance S3, the A3 cabriolet and the Q3 crossover all due to arrive by fall.
“We think we can build on the market share gains,” Keogh said. “That’s why we’re doing this.”
Porsche sold 4,101 vehicles in June, up 11 percent. Much of that came from the sold-out Macan. Porsche said it sold 2,026 units in the Macan’s first six weeks.
Porsche sales are up 8 percent through the first half of 2014. Porsche has set a U.S. sales target of 50,000 vehicles by 2018 and is ahead of pace, having sold 42,323 vehicles last year, but Detlev von Platen, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, told Automotive News last week that he expects sales to grow by less than 10 percent in 2014.
That means breaking the 2018 goal will have to wait.
Said von Platen: “I don’t think it’s this year, honestly.”
Amy Wilson contributed to this report.
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