The full brunt of the diesel emissions scandal currently embroiling Volkswagen has not yet been felt, but the VW Group has still posted an operating loss of $3.84 billion for the quarter that just ended, marking its first such loss in 15 years.
The Volkswagen brand sold 407,704 cars last year, a 6.95-percent decline compared to 2012, and it's down a further 8.36 percent through the end of April 2014 compared to this time last year. In order to to put the sales football between its Strategy 2018 goal posts, the brand would need to add 100,000 more sales every year to achieve the lofty 800,000-unit target. Coming to grips with how unreasonable that is, VW US CEO Michael Horn has said, "For now, we have to have realistic targets."
Volkswagen has dramatically cut its internal sales target for Western Europe for 2012. The estimate has been chopped by 140,000 vehicles according to Automotive News. In the report, Bernd Osterloh of VW is quoted telling German newspaper Handelsblatt, "The VW Group is tentatively selling more cars this year than last year. But that is correct that it will be somewhat less than what was originally planned."
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.
Guys never seemed to warm up to the Volkswagen New Beetle, and it doesn't take a dual master's degree in psychology and automotive design to figure out why. The outgoing Beetle featured sheetmetal that could only be described as cutesy, and many (most?) men tend to shy away from vehicles that might result in the questioning of their manhood.
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Dealers across the U.S. have been in shrink mode for years, as auto sales have dropped to the point where many stores could no longer remain open. That trend should reverse itself by 2014, though, at least for Volkswagen, as that brand looks to improve its sales volume here in the States.
Last Thursday, Ford issued a press release touting the fact that it sold more vehicles in Europe during the month of March than any other automaker. Pretty impressive if you ask us, especially when you consider the fact that Europe is the home market for the ever-growing Volkswagen brand. Thing is, the Blue Oval's press release may only be half true. Automotive News reports that Ford did in fact outsell VW in the 27 countries that make up the European Union. Include non-EU countries like Switzer
The global auto sales downturn has been as painful as it's been swift, but a report from Yomiuri shows that the worst of times may be over. The Japanese news agency (via Automotive News) reports that Toyota has raised its vehicle production forecast upwards by 3% to 6.5 million units. That's still a far cry from Toyota's amazing 2008, yet the positive adjustment is still worth over 300,000 units of additional production.