Volkswagen September Sales: Down 9.4%

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
volkswagen september sales down 9 4

“This is the toughest economy we’ve seen in a long time.” This piercing glimpse into the obvious comes to us from Volkswagen of North America COO Mark Barnes. Despite sales of over 1,077 units of the Tiguan– which wasn’t on sale last year– every other VW flopped. As we’ve pointed out previously, those 1k Tiguan sales likely came out of the Rabbit’s hide. Rabbit sales fell 37.5 percent, a loss of some 700 sales, compared to September 2007. The Passat also crashed and burned, down 56.5 percent from 2,704 sales last September to a paltry 1,176 this September (a $24k base price and premium gas requirement probably aren’t helping). The Beetle and Beetle Convertible also cratered, falling from a combined 3,109 last September to 1,888 cars in September 2008. It’s not a pretty picture when the company that’s supposed to be selling fuel efficient, affordable European cars has a range merely somewhat efficient, rather expensive Mexican-made European branded cars. I blame staid styling (Rabbit, Jetta), the aforementioned silly prices, and an America-unfriendly engine lineup dominated by a five-cylinder tractor motor. Also, with the American recession in full swing, Volkswagen’s earned (or unjustified, depending on your view) reputation for building unreliable cars isn’t doing it any favors.

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  • EEGeek EEGeek on Oct 02, 2008

    Thanks Justin. So if you figure that 80% of those TDI sales would have simply gone away (I would guess 90+%), then VW's sales decline would have been more than twice as bad.

  • MaxHedrm MaxHedrm on Oct 02, 2008

    How amusing. VWs decline is less than half of all the other automaker declines (in %) TTAC has reported lately. Yet everyone posts negative comments. Even if they hadn't introduced the Tiguan or TDIs their declines likely wouldn't have been as bad as many other automakers. And this is without huge rebates. And that's WITH "questionable quality" and "silly prices". I would also wager that VW was a lot closer to profitable than any of the Big 2.8 at a minimum. To me, volume is not nearly as important as profit. And I think VWs relatively low volumes are part of what appeals to many VW customers. It's a matter of being a bit distinctive, yet not spending a ton on the car. VW has something of a persona in the US. Sort of like Saab & Volvo (did?). Sadly, for the market as a whole, a ~10% decline in sales actually makes for a market share increase.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Oct 03, 2008

    I love my VWs. All three of them. I'm happy with the 115HP 2.0 b/c I know it is tuned for torque instead. ~30 mpg all the time. 11 yrs old. Reliable but the maintenance requirements are a little higher. Not worse than a domestic though. Will buy another VW if the right one comes along. The Sportwagon is a good candidate with a TDI.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Oct 03, 2008

    I'm happy with my three VWs. Will buy another. The Sportweagon TDI is a good candidate.