Volkswagen’s namesake brand had very ambitious goals for the US market, which has been continuously rising since the dreaded days of 2009’s economic crisis.

But, the unfortunate and ambitious goals were tantalizing close – yet almost impossible to achieve, with the German automaker among the few to incur sales losses last year. Back in 2007, the carmaker wanted to see its US brand sales up to 800,000 vehicles a year by 2018. Not to mention that many industry experts said the goal was unobtainable, but the marquee also had to triple its sales figures. Steadily and methodically Volkswagen looked almost ready to turn any skeptic into a believer – it had an affordable, Mexico-built Jetta and also constructed a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee to produce a US-tailored version of the Passat midsize sedan. Between 2009 and 2012 the sales doubled in volume to around 440,000 units per year – and looked ready to achieve the 2018 threshold.

But today, all that is history. Competition quickly intensified, passenger cars have fallen out of favor, replaced by pickup trucks and SUVs/crossovers, while the Jetta/Passat duo lost steam. With today’s yearly declines, the brand has missed on a key period of growth for the American auto industry and its sales – 366,970 vehicles last year – have return to 2011 levels. Now, the automaker has reshaped its message, claiming the 800,000 units was part of a larger group target of one million units – and Audi seems ready to pass the 200,000 autos goal this year already. If Volkswagen wants to keep its promise for the namesake brand – it would have to lift yearly sales by at least 100,000 units for the remainder of the period – a monumental task to say the least in America’s ultra competitive market.

Via Automotive News Europe


  1. Speaking as a former owner of a 2002, a 2006 and a 2010 Passat…

    The road to success for VW is certainly not by stuffing the 1.8T engine from the Golf and Jetta into the larger Passat.

    10 years ago, the smaller, lighter “true” Passat had a 200 HP 2.0T engine. It should be obvious that the bigger US/Canada Passat needs its own 2.0T engine which should produce about 190 HP on regular fuel.

    And please give me back the close ratio 6-speed manual.

    And why not sell the glorious smaller Euro Passat (not the CC) here for the VW faithful who want a right-sized car?

  2. VW fails miserably in North America compared to the rest of the world because they give us dumb**s product with 0 style. I'd love to know who runs the focus groups in North American for Honda, Toyota, and all the European OEMs. If they started offering style, people would buy it.

  3. VW has nothing in the US in the segment below the Golf. They should build/import the Polo to compete with the likes of the Mazda 2.

    Also, the design language of the VW car interiors is very different (spartan, minimalist) from that of its competitors. It appeals to a certain kind of buyer and there just may not be enough of those to reach their goals.

    They walk a fine line. As with the American Passat, VW risks losing its identity as a European car if it does what is needed to appeal to the masses needed to achieve 800,000 units.

    Some of us are old enough to remember the disaster of the American Rabbit made in Pennsylvania.

    I wish VW well. Im very happy with my Touareg TDi.


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