Volkswagen Back At 1970 Glory, But Will It Be Enough For 2018?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
volkswagen back at 1970 glory but will it be enough for 2018

Volkswagen wants to be the world’s biggest, most profitable, most innovative, and most loved automaker by 2018, and everybody at Volkswagen has been sworn-in to do their share. US managers promised that they will deliver a million sales a year to the group. It’s a tall order. To get there, “American consumers will need to buy a lot more new Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches,” Reuters says.

June ’12June ’11ChangeYTD ’12YTD ’11ChangeVolkswagen Grp51,05738,67332%274,960210,87730%Porsche3,0022,54618%16,45015,5426%Total54,05941,21931%291,410226,41929%

U.S. Volkswagen Group sales in the first six months of this year, with 16,450 Porsches already factored-in, are less than 300,000, below 600,000 for the full year if all goes well. However, they reached an important historical milestone. Coincidentally, sales of a resurgent Volkswagen will be around Volkswagen’s high water mark of 1970, when it sold 569,696 cars, mostly Beetles.

To reach its one million unit goal by 2018, the Volkswagen Group would need an uninterrupted annual increase of 10 percent. That’s doable, again, if all goes well.

Currently, Volkswagen runs at an annual increase of 30 percent, but that’s coming from a low base. As the table shows, finally acquired Porsche does not move the needle much, it provides moral support at best.

According to Reuters, much of Volkswagen’s recent success

“is attributed to the overhaul of the Jetta and the Passat, both of which were specifically tailored to better suit mainstream U.S. consumers and re-engineered to be built at a much lower cost than their predecessors. The compact Jetta is assembled at VW’s sprawling Puebla factory in Mexico, while the mid-size Passat is the first car to roll off the line at the new $1 billion Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant that opened last year.”

To get to a million units, Volkswagen needs a lot. It needs more models, more and better dealers. It needs to get out of the perennial J.D. Power doghouse, and, related, it needs to address the fact that any mention of Volkswagen triggers an avalanche of “VW sucks” comments on the webs. As we will hear instantly.

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  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Jul 07, 2012

    My son leased a Jetta 3 years ago, on VW's sign and drive plan. Nothing down, just start making your lease payment. There's no cheaper way for a young man with his first grown-up job to get into a new car. In fact it's cheaper than getting into most used cars. The Jetta has been trouble free for 3 years. My son will probably buy the car at the end of the lease. I doubt VW will ever most loved. Innovation doesn't always translate into sales. Chasing volume is a fools game. Most profitable? We'll see. My money is on the Koreans.

  • TOTitan TOTitan on Jul 07, 2012

    I bought a new Rabbit for my daughter in 08. The car now has 54,000 miles on it and has had no breakdowns or malfunctions at all. With that in mind bought a new 12 Jetta Sportwagon TDI a month ago. So far so good with it too.

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