Golf family helps VW break U.S. losing streak

Audi gains roll on

WASHINGTON -- The Volkswagen brand broke a three-month slump in U.S. sales with an 8.1 percent gain in May, while its luxury sibling Audi continued its hot streak to post its second-best U.S. sales month on record.

VW sold 34,758 vehicles last month, the brand’s best May U.S. sales figure in 15 years, the company said in a statement. The gain was driven by strong demand for the Golf compact-car family, which includes the GTI, e-Golf, Golf R and Golf Sportwagen.

The Golf lineup generated combined sales of 6,308 units last month, more than triple the levels seen in May 2014. The redesigned Golf has earned several accolades, including the coveted North American Car of the Year award in January.

“We are encouraged by the performance of the Golf family, delivering the best May in 15 years,” Mark McNabb, COO of Volkswagen of America, said in a statement. “We are happy to see the full-lineup delivering success.”

The gain wasn’t enough to make up for VW’s preceding three months of lower sales, however. VW’s sales through the first five months of the year have slipped 4.2 percent to 144,006.

Bargain leases

Meanwhile, VW’s volume-leading Jetta compact and Passat midsize cars are battling for sales in cutthroat segments where customers have been defecting to crossovers and SUVs. Jetta deliveries rose 5 percent last month but are off 13 percent year to date, largely reflecting the wind-down of Jetta Sportwagen sales. Passat volume fell 8.7 percent in May, dragging five-month sales down 17 percent.

Jetta sales likely benefited from leasing bargains offered in several parts of the country, which, according to a Bloomberg report this week, included $39-a-month deals offered in San Jose, Calif., and $99-a-month deals in Boston.

VW’s car-heavy lineup is short on the crossovers and SUVs that are driving the U.S. market. Its Tiguan compact CUV is smaller than competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Chevy Equinox, and both the Tiguan and the larger Touareg are more expensive compared with the competition. The VW lineup is broadly viewed as being behind the curve on infotainment technology.

Audi rolls on

Tech-savvy Audi meanwhile continued its U.S. sales gains in May. Volume rose 11 percent to 18,428 vehicles. It is Audi’s second-best monthly showing ever in the U.S. and its 53rd consecutive monthly sales record.

The luxury brand’s sales was driven by record A3 and S3 compact-sedan demand and continued momentum for its Q5 and Q7 crossovers.

“A year after launching the new A3 models, we are seeing payoff from our bold decision to reimagine a key component of the Audi lineup and take advantage of a luxury car segment poised to take off,” Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America, said in a statement. “The record sales for the A3 and S3 sedans, along with the A3 Cabriolet, show this was a risk well worth taking. And we aren’t done yet with the all-new A3 Sportback e-tron coming this fall as the first plug-in Audi.”

You can reach Ryan Beene at

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