With strong sales of the redesigned Passat, now assembled in the United States, the Volkswagen brand posted a 41 percent U.S. sales increase in November vs. November 2010.
"The Passat is ahead of our plan," Jonathan Browning, CEO of VW Group of America, said during a conference call this morning. Sales of Passat diesels are strong, he added, and VW will respond.
He described VW's inventory -- a 34-day supply at the end of October -- as "slightly leaner than we'd like." But he said dealers are selling well with limited supplies, and the company was "not looking to build massive inventories."
Other VW brand highlights for November:
- Sales of the best-selling Jetta, rose 16 percent from November 2010 to 12,891.
- Passat sales were 6,018 vs. just 313 last November. The U.S.-built Passat went on sale in mid-September of this year.
- Beetle sales were 1,656 vs. 487 last November.
Year-to-date sales for VW brand hit 291,899, up 25 percent from the same period of 2010.
Browning sees growing U.S. auto sales as a leading indicator that the economy is healing and consumer confidence is improving. Aiding auto sales are low interest rates and strong used-vehicle values, he said.
He expects U.S. light-vehicle sales to reach 12.85 million this year and between 13.5 million and 14 million next year.