Volkswagen’s U.S. sales fell for the fourth straight month in February as the brand reels from a diesel emissions scandal while sibling division Audi continues to climb.
VW brand sales dropped 13 percent to 22,321 vehicles. All but two VW models -- the low-volume e-Golf electric car and the Tiguan compact crossover -- posted declines.
The continued freeze on U.S. diesel vehicle sales likely impacted the results. The German automaker remains in negotiations with U.S. regulators over how to fix the nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles equipped with illegal software that enabled them to pass emissions tests.
For the third straight month, the German automaker’s namesake brand prevented the group from tallying a U.S. sales gain. In addition to small, monthly advances at Audi during that span, Porsche has recorded monthly double-digit increases.
Overall VW Group of America sales -- which include Audi, Bentley, Porsche and VW -- fell 7.1 percent last month.
Volkswagen of America COO Mark McNabb said in a statement that the VW brand’s retail sales rose last month from year-earlier figures. He blamed the overall dip on “seasonal fleet business.”
A VW spokeswoman declined to provide retail and fleet breakdowns.
Sales of the Jetta compact car, VW’s top-selling vehicle, fell 13 percent. Passat midsize sedan sales plummeted 31 percent, while sales of the Golf compact car family declined 7 percent.
Sales of the iconic Beetle car, including the coupe and convertible, collapsed 52 percent to 912 units.
Tiguan sales rose 78 percent, a rare bright spot for the VW brand.
Audi, meanwhile, rode demand for its A7 large car and Q7 large crossover to its 62nd consecutive month of U.S. sales records. Audi sales were up 2.3 percent in February to 11,718 vehicles.
“There is robust demand for models at the top end of our lineup, such as the A7 and Q7,” Audi of America COO Mark Del Rosso said in a statement. “This gives us confidence that our sales momentum will continue with the upcoming launches of the all-new A4 and R8 this spring.”
Gains by the Q7, up 63 percent to 1,653 last month, offset a 2.9 percent decline in Q5 deliveries and a 5.5 percent drop in Q3 sales.
Likewise, an 87 percent increase in A7 sales to 429 helped soften declines by the A3 (-4.2 percent), A5 (-28 percent), A6 (-17 percent) and A8 (-27 percent). A4 sales rose 4.8 percent to 1,827.