By on June 14, 2013

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

With all the troubles in Europe, one would expect Volkswagen to hurt, but the Wolfsburg company is doing just fine, thank you. For the first five months, Volkswagen Group sales are up 5.9 percent to 3.87 million units. In May, global deliveries rose 6.9 percent to 816,500.

In China, Volkswagen could edge out perennial numbers leader GM.

Volkswagen Group Sales May 2013, by region
5M’13 5M’12 YoY May’13 May’12 Yoy
Total 3,870,000 3,650,000 5.9% 816,500 763,900 6.9%
Europe 1,530,000 1,580,000 -3.5% 320,000 330,000 -3.0%
WEurExD 799,100 825,800 -3.2% 163,200 164,400 -0.7%
Germany 473,100 493,900 -4.2% 102,900 106,400 -3.3%
EEur 254,000 262,600 -3.3% 54,900 57,500 -4.5%
Russia 120,900 122,500 -1.3% 26,000 28,000 -7.1%
North America 360,000 318,700 13.0% 80,100 70,800 13.1%
USA 249,300 224,100 11.2% 55,400 50,400 9.9%
South Am 375,400 376,700 -0.4% 83,400 79,800 4.5%
Brazil 276,300 273,000 1.2% 62,800 58,700 7.0%
Asia-Pacific 1,430,000 1,230,000 16.4% 290,000 250,000 16.0%
China 1,280,000 1,080,000 18.2% 260,000 220,000 18.2%
India 41,300 51,700 -20.2% 7,900 8,200 -3.7%
Source: Volkswagen.  Blue: Calculated from file data

In Europe, Volkswagen is indeed suffering, but not as much as other volume makers. Volkswagen’s European sales are down 3 percent. Volkswagen makes it up abroad. North America is up  13 percent, China is up 18 percent

In China, the Volkswagen Group appears to have outsold GM – at least as far as the last month is concerned. In May, Volkswagen sold some 290,000 units in China in the month, GM reports 253,000. We had to calculate the May number for Volkswagen as the company reports only year-to-date numbers. We will supply the exact number when we have it.

Year-to-date, Volkswagen keeps nipping on the heels General Motors, but so far fails to overtake in China. Volkswagen sold 1.28 million cars in the Middle Kingdom from January through April, whereas General Motors reports 1.33 million.  Bottom-line wise, Volkswagen fares much better in China . More than half of GM’s Chinese volume consists of low-cost, low margin Wulings in a joint venture where GM holds 44 percent of the shares,  making GM’s Chinese leadership a hollow one. More than half of Volkswagen’s sales are coming from outside Europe.

Volkswagen Group Sales May 2013, by brand
5M’13 5M’12 YoY May’13 May’12 Yoy
Volkswagen Passenger 2,410,000 2,290,000 5.3% 500,000 480,000 4.2%
Audi 640,200 600,200 6.7% 137,200 128,900 6.4%
Porsche 67,300 15,100 0
ŠKODA 377,200 405,500 -7.0% 79,200 81,400 -2.7%
SEAT 149,100 134,300 11.0% 32,000 29,300 9.2%
Volkswagen Commercial 219,900 220,600 -0.3% 49,200 46,400 6.0%
Source: Volkswagen.  Blue: Calculated from file data

Premium brand Audi braves the rough elements even better than  Volkswagen, again with a positive effect for the bottom line. Interestingly, Mediterranean SEAT, which had been given up for dead by many, shows surprising resiliency. Seat grew 31 percent in Germany, and 9 percent in the UK.

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25 Comments on “Volkswagen Beats GM In China, Is Up Solid In The Rest Of The World...”


  • avatar

    not surprising given the staunch veedubb supporters like you Bertel. :)

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    For all of the Volkswagen Group’s “diversification”, the Volkswagen Passenger division still accounts slightly over 62% of sales.

    Not criticism, only an observation.

    Feel free to check my math.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    All the old school, living in the past bloggers will remember VWs of old and talk about reliability etc. Stuff that means little in 2013 as the difference between the best and worst vehicles in reliability is very minor. When you factor in the attention to detail in design and construction and the generally ‘class above’ interiors (many standard VWs have nicer and better constructed interiors than some luxury brands), it is no wonder they continue to grow at the expense of other manufacturers.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      I would never touch a 5 year old DSG equipped turbo charged VW….. would you?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        That was 5 years ago! That’s like ancient history dude! Are you old and conservative or something sad like that? Everything is different now. Cars are all reliable, so all that matters is how they make you feel when you touch the dashboard. You can’t tell anything about the cars they make now based on how they made them for the first 75 years they were in existence! That would be so unfair! And unlike in 2008, this time people mean it when they say all cars are reliable now!

      • 0 avatar
        J.Emerson

        Probably not, but that’s only because I’m not really a fan of VW. It’s still a nice car though.

        There seems to be this kind of weird moral imperialism that’s embraced by people who are too afraid to buy interesting or enjoyable cars. I’d say that they’re just compensating for selling their souls to mediocrity for the sake of convenience. It almost verges in paranoia, as if there’s an active conspiracy to buy up all the automotive Tupperware of this world and dump it in the ocean. It’s your God-given right to lay down and take whatever the beige overlords think you deserve. But it doesn’t make you a better or more intelligent person.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          “There seems to be this kind of weird moral imperialism that’s embraced by people who are too afraid to buy interesting or enjoyable cars. I’d say that they’re just compensating for selling their souls to mediocrity for the sake of convenience. It almost verges in paranoia, as if there’s an active conspiracy to buy up all the automotive Tupperware of this world and dump it in the ocean. It’s your God-given right to lay down and take whatever the beige overlords think you deserve. But it doesn’t make you a better or more intelligent person.”

          People take a long time to get over a brand that burned them. It doesn’t matter that the old company has basically nothing to do with a new one.

          My Dad would for example buy a Jeep but never a Dodge. Even though they are same company.. Part of that is that he owned a Dodge Omni at one point.

          I do agree with your theory. Buy the kind of car you actually like. Because they are close enough in reliability now that it doesn’t really matter. Lots of people drive Volkswagens and I just don’t see a ton of them stranded by the side of the road.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          My company car is a 2012 Audi A6. It is no more reliable than the two other Audis, two BMWs(and a Mini Cooper), the VW, the Mercedes, or the Porsche that we’ve had in the past. In fairness, there is far more stuff to break, so probably a lower percentage of stuff breaks. The overall frequency of glitches is as bad as the worst of the earlier German cars I’ve driven though.

          You did call it right that I’m too ‘afraid’ to buy a car like this. It is a lease in a company name because of what you call fear and I consider to be intelligence.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            Missing the point, yet again.

            You seem to be stuck on the theme that the only reason anyone should ever buy a car, ever, is “reliability.” And anyone who desires something more than a Xeroxed garbage can with wheels for a daily driver is a moron, a Communist, or both. If you choose to a buy a car because you like how it looks, drives, or makes you feel, you’re nothing but a tool and a sheeple, worthy of only a smug glance and a snide comment. That’s an intellectually bankrupt position, and no amount of pettiness and backbiting will change that. There’s nothing wrong with valuing reliability and build quality in an automobile, but that is not the be-all end-all of automotive enthusiasm.

            It’s pretty funny to be a on a website, supposedly dedicated to automotive enthusiasts, where a significant portion of the userbase immediately excoriates anyone who doesn’t choose vehicular vanilla. Can we please abandon this ridiculous notion that ignoring the Consumer Reports Index of Banned Cars or whatever it’s called is automatic grounds for calling somebody a fool?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Here’s my reality check for you. Today’s German cars are numb, powerful status symbols that are no more fun to drive than anything else. They used to have an alacrity and purity of control that made up for everything else. That’s nothing like the case now, with their run-flats, two-ton+ curb weights, electric power steering, electronic stability control replacing mechanical LSDs, forced induction engines, and automatic transmissions. The reliability gap, on the other hand, still exists.

            I consider this as much of an industry site as it is an enthusiasts’ site.

          • 0 avatar
            CelticPete

            So wait you had all these German cars and now attesting to the reliability of Japanese ones? Do you own alot of Japanese cars too?

            Did you think through this little mind experiment? Or were you just too excited to ‘win’ this argument.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            That’s ultimately nothing but an opinion, and it doesn’t get at the core of my argument anyway. People buy cars for all sorts of reasons, and reliability is only one factor among many. If somebody chooses to drive a car that didn’t make somebody’s dogma list, that doesn’t make them an idiot. It just means they prioritized something you don’t agree with. As others have pointed out, you’re ultimately splitting hairs anyway, because even the most “unreliable” car you can buy today will still get you from point A to point B 99.9% of the time. Even the manufacturers with the strongest reputations for quality are abandoning the “if we build it, they’ll buy it” mentality, because they realize the gap is largely illusory at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Moreover, it’s not like all Hondas or Toyotas last 200K miles problem-free or ever did. That’s just what people convince themselves of to justify deferred maintenance and buying a boring appliance. Having driven cars with 200K miles, I’m certain there are things that are broken on those 200K cars that are just being ignored (“yeah, that CEL has been on for a year and a half, and it clunks when you…”).

      I have a family member who only drives appliances dumping a 10+year old Corolla with around 100K miles because of a common headlight issue on those models. He hasn’t been able to drive the damn thing at night for several weeks because the part was on order from Japan, and the first and second rounds of repair couldn’t fix it.

      Another family member had an 11-year old Civic with 100K miles on which he had spent more on maintenance and repair than an Audi I compared it to with 100K miles.

      I think a lot of maintenance/repair issues come down far more to the owner than the car in some cases. I’ve had transmissions that are supposed to be unreliable go to 180K and 200K+, and the same cars had parts that wore out within their natural lifetime, as they should, but I never thought the car was particularly unreliable or a moneypit (and that’s for 80s American metal). Mainly it was because I did the maintenance like clockwork and didn’t cheap out.

      Other people drive the same car and have a completely difference experience. I’ve most often noticed this about company cars — one family member used to drive them back in the 80s, and all of his co-workers got the same make/model car in a given year (always from Detroit), so it was easy to compare. There were certain co-workers who kept having certain problems creep up — one even blew an engine in one. It was always the same guys over the years.

      Meanwhile, my relative, who is a relatively mild mannered driver and always got all maintenance done like clockwork, always was trouble-free, to the point where he actually bought one of the company cars for his wife to use. The company would dump them after about 2.5 years, but usually they had between 60-80K miles at that point. They kept that car through 200K while only needed minor repairs of stuff that wore out for the next 15 years.

  • avatar
    th009

    SEAT is up thanks to new (and lower cost!) products. Škoda is down for five months due to product transition but seems to be catching up now as Octavia and (lower cost!) Rapid are becoming available.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    This should not be a surprise. The rest of the world buys more smaller and economical cars where VW spends a lot of time and energy. GM does not focus a lot of effort in this area (GM Europe – Opel/Vauxhall do make smaller cars but they’ve been low priority in terms of resource allocation) so they don’t have much to offer.

  • avatar
    wsn

    They sure sell a lot of units. But the total $ amount is probably very low, because they concentrate on the lowest priced market in China.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    VW isn’t generating any wider margins in China than GM. They also rely on the bottom end of the market for a large hunk of their volume. Keep in mind, this is a company that has treated the Chinese market primarily as a dilumping ground for ancient platforms until fairly recently. They still sell cars there that are decades old.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      If you were replying to me, you have just wasted some bandwidth. I was referring to VW, not GM.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Audi was 400,000 units out of 2.8 million in 2012CY. That’s a pretty healthy 14% of their volume.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      Using old platform is usually good for profits, as the investments have long been written off…

      • 0 avatar
        J.Emerson

        Only if they can command prices at or near similar vehicles in their class. Ford quit making Panthers when consumers realized they weren’t worth the money compared to newer, better rivals. Even in China, something like a Santana is at best a value play.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          Chinese sales here:
          http://bestsellingcarsblog.com/2013/06/14/china-may-2013-vw-lavida-leads-ford-ecosport-up/

          #1 VW Lavida (PQ34)
          #4 VW Sagitar (PQ35, same as US Jetta)
          #5 VW Bora (PQ35)
          #6 VW Passat (NMS, same as US Passat)
          #10 VW Jetta (PQ35, same as US Jetta)
          #12 VW Magotan (NMS, same as US Passat)
          #15 VW Tiguan (PQ35, same as US Tiguan)

          Actually only one model on an older platform in the top 15. Santana is way back in #52: Volkswagen has refreshed its Chinese model lineup in a big way. Chinese Audis are also all on current platforms.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @Emerson, with regard to “VW isn’t generating any wider margins in China than GM,” it may be true for passenger cars (Buick will have decent margins) but a huge part of GM’s volume in China is made up of the very low-priced Wuling vans.


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