2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SEL - silver - front three-quarter view

Volkswagen product planners have been making more concerted overtures to North American customers over the last year or so, and their efforts appear to be working. On the strength of new Jetta and Passat models tailored specifically for U.S. customers (read: larger and less costly), VW is poised to reach its best sales year since 1973, says the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

According to the report, VW's sales are up 35.4 percent year over year for a total of 208,725 units, suggesting that the German automaker should see over 400,000 sales this year if its momentum holds up. Of particular note to the Tennessee paper, June's Passat sales totals exceeded 10,000 units for the fourth month in a row. The Passat is built in Chattanooga, where they are planning to add a third shift to keep up with demand by month's end.

Other products carrying water for the brand? VW's new Beetle, surging Golf and the facelifted Tiguan, whose sales are steadily improving after a slow start.