Two years removed from admitting its complicity in the diesel-emissions scandal, Volkswagen has rebounded strongly, saying it expects to produce more than 6 million vehicles by year's end, a new record, on a raft of recent product introductions and strong performance by several of its bread-and-butter nameplates like the Golf, Jetta and Passat.
Those results only count VW vehicles and not those from family stablemates like Audi and Porsche. So we'll have to wait and see whether VW Group or Toyota claims the full-year title of world's largest automaker by sales.
VW says it now produces more than 60 models globally. They're built at more than 50 plants in 14 countries, with more than 150 million vehicles manufactured since the original Beetle began production 72 years ago. The company launched more than 10 vehicles globally this year, including the T-Roc and Atlas.
VW says the Golf tallied nearly 1 million deliveries worldwide in 2017, bringing deliveries to date to 34 million across seven generations. The Golf hatchback lead its segment in Germany and Europe, while the wagon recorded the model's strongest year-over-year growth at 11 percent.
The Tiguan saw the brand's strongest sales growth, growing 40 percent to about 730,000 units delivered globally in 2017, with China and Germany as its largest markets. VW also said it delivered about 150,000 Tourans, its European multi-purpose vehicle. Other strong-performing models were the Santana and Polo, which aren't sold in the United States. VW is preparing to launch the 2019 Jetta and the U.S. launch of the Arteon, the successor to the CC.
In coming years, the Volkswagen Group will increasingly turn its focus to developing crossovers, SUVs and electric vehicles. It plans to spend nearly $85 billion on EVs, autonomous vehicles and mobility services by the end of 2022. That includes $11.8 billion to develop and build electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to meet EV quotas in China.