By on June 17, 2011

The Volkswagen Group is hitting on all available cylinders, and there are many: For the first time in recorded Volkswagen history, VW delivered more than 3 million units in the first five months, 3.37 million, to be exact. Compared to the same period last year, that is an increase of +14.6 percent.  These gains are steady and continous. In May, VW sold 708,900 units worldwide, up 17.4 percent compared to May 2010.

Around the world, Volkswagen’s  January-May sales were as follows:

Volkswagen January-May 2011 deliveries by region

Europe 1,560,000 9.6%
North America 261,600 19.7%
South America 376,800 9.3%
Asia/Pacific 1,040,000 21.6%
Others 131,600 35.8%
3,370,000 14.6%

Europe remains Volkswagen’s largest market, but Asia is catching up quickly. Volkswagen now sells roughly twice as many cars in China as at home in Germany. 921,100 (+18.4 percent) units were delivered in China in the first five months.  In Germany, 475,100 (+8.7 percent) Volkswagen were sold January to May 2011.

Volkswagen January-May 2011 deliveries by  major brand

Volkswagen Cars 2,090,000 12.2%
Audi 535,400 17.5%
Skoda 373,400 21.5%
SEAT 152,500 31.4%
Volkswagen Commercial 213,000 31.4%

Brand-wise, everything appears to be rosy. Even SEAT is selling again.  No wonder Volkswagen’s sales chief Christian Klingler  is “very pleased” with the”very convincing model range” which is “ benefiting from brisk demand.”

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23 Comments on “Volkswagen Breaks New Sales Record...”

  • avatar

    If these numbers were calculated on the same electronics VW put in their vehicles, I would ask for a recount with paper and pencil.

  • avatar

    That’s a whole lotta beige being sold.

  • avatar

    German cars are the worst for reliability. All they sell is image.

    • 0 avatar

      Can`t complain. Had a lot of them (BMW, Porsche, VW). Put a lot of miles on them as well. No issues.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      JJ, the Germans tend to do a better job of getting suspension tuning and steering feel right for the car. Cars are so reliable now that even being worse than average is still pretty reliable compared to the past. In the US German cars fall behind in long-term ownership cost, but this appears to be due to high replacement parts cost and dealer gouging, not bad engineering. A rational consumer could choose to enjoy the German car driving experience, but sell the car before expensive parts need replacement. A different consumer could put a higher value on minimizing shop time over long-term ownership and choose a Toyota. Driving a Camry, while relaxing, is about as exciting as running clothes through a washing machine. I think it’s great that consumers get so many reasonably good automotive choices and very few truly bad ones.

      • 0 avatar

        Couldn’t have put it better myself. I bought a VW Golf for those exact reasons, choosing a better driving experience over an appliance-like Toyota. I’m fine with paying a little more for parts in exchange for a car with personality. And my Golf is still a perfectly reliable car in the greater scheme of things.

      • 0 avatar

        Well put, George B. That just about sums up the ownership experience and I think that’s a very fair assessment.

        I will also give credit where due: my 2000 Jetta VR6 with its 2/24,000 warranty was a complete and total nightmare to own. Were it not for my extended warranty (which paid out about 5x the purchase price of the warranty) I would curse VW to the day I died. But things have improved – my 2004 R32 was bulletproof, sans a wheel bearing issue, and the only costs incurred outside of warranty on my 2006 A3, apart from wear items, has been the AC compressor and HVAC fan, both of which Audi partially comped me on.

        My point is: they’re far better than they were ten years ago, and I would say the real turning point for VW came around 2008.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a 2000 jetta VR6 as well, and I’ll never buy another VW for as long as I live. Never again.

      • 0 avatar

        hreardon: you list 3 different VW/Audi models with major failures at young age and consider that a success just because you only paid part of it (along with an extra warranty you needed to purchase)?

        It is your money and your car… you have my blessing. but once you had a Japanese car, you will consider any type of mechanical failure within 5-8 years a… failure.

        It says a lot when VW owners justify such failures with that it improved to “before”.

      • 0 avatar

        HerrKaLeun –

        The Jetta VR6 was a nightmare, I will grant you that. However, the wheel bearing on the R32 was covered under warranty and the problems with the A3 were outside of warranty, yet goodwilled. So yes, I’ll cut them some slack for that because overall I’ve been very happy with both the R32 and the A3.

        I agree with you that the Asian makes would consider all of these issues completely unacceptable and I really do hope VW can push things to reach similar levels of reliability. As I mentioned, I think that their post-2007 product has made a major leap in overall reliability though admittedly the data needs some more time to bear out those assumptions.

        But let’s be fair: I have three friends with Honda Odyssey vans that between them have replaced five transmissions in their 100,000+ service lives. People love their Hondas so much that they’ll generally overlook these major snafus and write them off as aberrations. Similarly, I’ve loved my R and my A3 and think I’ve actually come out unscathed at 95,000 miles compared to the Honda folks.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The way German cars drive makes up for their imperfect reliability. Although some of the more complex ones (5-series BMW/E-class Benz/Audi A6 and larger) can be a real pain to own post-warranty.

      • 0 avatar

        Have you driven the new 5-series? I tried it. It wasn’t any more connected to the road than some pretty mundane family cars. The impression was more $60,000 Toyota Avalon than a car that evolved from the E39. I didn’t feel any torque steer when accelerating around a 90 degree corner, but I didn’t feel anything else either.

      • 0 avatar

        good point that driving should be enjoyable… especially when you drive twice the miles as planned because of all the trips to the shop…

    • 0 avatar

      I’m shocked to see this statement. Oh, wait, it’s jj99, I’m not surprised at all.

  • avatar

    HOW? WHY?

  • avatar

    How come as the quality of the interior surpasses Chrysler for crappiness, the sales go up. No wonder the Europeans often has such distaste for Americans. I’m disgusted myself…

    • 0 avatar

      I take it you are referring to the new Jetta which is competitive to the Corolla for the interior (not saying much but). The rest of the range, Golf, GTi, Jetta Sportswagen, CC, Tiguan etc are still Euro quality interiors. From reviews I have seen of the new Passat it seems the harbingers of doom were wrong about the interior plastics being crap and reviewers are positively surprised by the apparent quality.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, I was referring to the Jetta. According to what I have read so far, the Passat is still not what it used to be. Will the rest of the VW line also be cheapened? The mag I read indicated that they had to take $7K out of the Passat, where that amount represented a substantial amount of the total value of the car. Which is too bad because I always like the previous generation VW interiors. They really were a true entry into the German world of automobiles.

  • avatar

    I had heard that not having the rubo engine as standard and building in the US (reduced foreign exchange hedging) made substantial savings. The interiors may be a little less luxiourious than before but from what I have read (and we should wait until it os out in the showroom) the interiors are still towards the top of the class. If you want real luxury interiors then VW owns Audi.

    So you base your comments on one car – the Jetta.

  • avatar

    >It is your money and your car… you have my blessing. but once you had a Japanese car, you will consider any type of mechanical failure within 5-8 years a… failure.

    It says a lot when VW owners justify such failures with that it improved to “before”.

    It also says a lot that drivers in general over the years are not being raised to deal with adversity – the “there are no losers” syndrome at play – hence an increase in the number of drivers who complain when a light bulb goes out. Car owners nowadays tend to neglect basic maintenance items on their vehicles (oil changes, check the tire pressure, etc.) until something goes WRONG!

    For example, when most drivers fill up at the gas station, they neglect to check the oil level or perform a quick visual inspection of the engine compartment and around the vehicle to identify potential problems before they get worse. And when something does go wrong, these individuals are quick to point the blame at everyone else – not considering that they might also be complicit as well…

    • 0 avatar

      vento97 –

      Those are some really good points. I was speaking with a friend who manages an Audi/Porsche dealership and he said that in the past five years the number of complaints has not necessarily gone down – just the TYPES of complaints have changed. The expectations are such that every single little creak, whistle or odd tick is registered by the consumer as a “defect” and it is virtually impossible to get complete satisfaction.

      The truth is, outside of the real lemon car it is very rare to have a car today that will actually strand you due to a major malfunction, regardless the brand.

      Volkswagen’s major failure the past ten years has been to take this to mean that customers should just shut up about the minor stuff and be happy that the car works, period. It’s that attitude that the Asian automakers exploited and used to their advantage to beef up their subsystems and make them more reliable and trouble-free. In the meantime, VW ends up looking like the arrogant ass it can be and pissing off customers. I think they’ve finally turned a corner on that.

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