Audi, Porsche roll on; VW extends slump

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Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the impact the new A3 had on Audi's U.S. sales in August.

WASHINGTON -- New models fueled double-digit sales gains at Volkswagen Group of America’s Audi and Porsche luxury brands, but not enough to offset ongoing weakness at the VW brand and buoy the German automaker’s overall U.S. sales in August.

U.S. sales of the new A3 luxury compact car totaled 2,430 and helped Audi's August sales rise 22 percent to a new monthly record while the Macan compact crossover fueled a 37 percent jump in Porsche sales last month. But the Volkswagen brand posted another lackluster month, with sales off 13 percent. It was the brand’s 17th consecutive monthly decline in U.S. sales.

Overall VW Group sales fell 2 percent to 57,122 vehicles in August, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Year-to-date group sales through August are off 5 percent to 394,925.

At the Volkswagen brand, a 26 percent increase in sales of the recently redesigned Golf family failed to offset a 41 percent drop in Beetle sales, in addition to lower sales of the Passat and Jetta, Volkswagen’s two highest-volume products. Aside from the Golf family, every other nameplate in VW’s lineup posted lower sales last month.

With the redesigned Golf family in stores and a freshened Jetta arriving this fall, Mark McNabb, COO of Volkswagen of America, said in a statement that VW is “confident our refreshed lineup will spark more consumer demand for the brand.”

The VW brand’s U.S. sales through August have fallen 13 percent to 244,878 vehicles.

Audi’s hot streak continued as the A3 propelled the brand to its best monthly U.S. sales in company history: 17,101 vehicles, for a 22 percent gain.

The 2,430 A3s sold last month accounted for about 78 percent of Audi’s gains last month. August was also the brand’s 44th straight month of U.S. sales growth.

Through August, Audi deliveries were up 15 percent to 116,066 units.

Mark Del Rosso, COO of Audi of America, said that both 2014 and 2015 models were included in the brand’s model year-end sales event last month after the company accelerated the production and launch of 2015 models by one to two months due to high demand.

“Given that consumer demand is so high, we were able to run through our 2014 model sell-own more rapidly than we had planned,” Del Rosso said. “Clearly when you couple proper demand with proper supply only good things can happen from a brand development standpoint”

The new Macan compact crossover kept Porsche rolling in August, along with the 911 sports car, which posted a 34 percent gain.

“It is gratifying to see our iconic sports car continue to be a strong performer,” Detlev von Platen, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, said in a statement.

You can reach Ryan Beene at rbeene@crain.com. -- Follow Ryan on Twitter


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