By on May 7, 2020


Hey, things crop up. Little things, like a global pandemic that ground the economy (and vehicle production, and sales) to a halt for two months, can just appear out of the blue and wreak all sorts of havoc.

Because of just such an occurrence, Volkswagen of America’s long-awaited return to black ink will have to wait.

Ever higher sales and market share figures were once the primary goal of automakers operating in the U.S. That changed to profitability in recent years, with VW being the first to rank fiscal sustainability over sales targets — the result of the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal and its resulting financial fallout.

Per Automotive News, VW’s chief financial officer, Frank Witter, told media on Thursday that 2020 will become another year of economic recovery for the brand’s U.S. region.

“We were well on our way to reaching our target of a breakeven for the VW passenger car brand in the USA in 2020,” Witter said. “Due to the coronavirus, it naturally won’t be possible to meet this now, unfortunately. It’s a setback, but it doesn’t change our basic aspiration.”

A return to profitability in the U.S. was one of VW’s key goals when it laid out its economic recovery plan in 2016. Until now, things have progressed swimmingly, with the Atlas and current-generation Tiguan proving solid sellers. Last fall, VW’s Chattanooga, TN assembly plant began building the slightly shortened Atlas Cross Sport alongside the refreshed 2021 Atlas.

Last year showed the brand’s upward sales momentum continuing apace, with volume up 2.6 percent. That momentum hit a brick wall in March, however, as the pandemic’s arrival saw sales plunge 42 percent in that month. The sales loss more than offset the continued year-over-year gains seen in the first two months of the year, setting the brand up for a 13 percent quarterly sales loss.

At least VW has product buyers apparently want, allowing it to potentially bounce back quickly once things return to near-normal.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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10 Comments on “VW of America: Actually, Maybe This Won’t Be the Year We Turn a Profit...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It will be also hard to make a profit on their new EVs, whenever they appear. Hope the Atlas prints them a lot of money.

  • avatar

    I just turned inn a Passat rental. Miserable car to drive, couldn’t wait to be done with it. Horrible transmission calibration with rough, abrupt shifting. You’d barely get through a stop light and be in 4th fear and feel every one of them. Or it would shift into high gear, dropping the revs, then down shift to maintain speed almost immediately. Even something as simple as the door hinges were frustrating. You couldn’t open the door without it trying to re-close. I had to put my foot against it to stop it from rocking back closed every time. Weird electric power steering and occasionally and randomly would boss the steering wheel left or right, like the car was trying to drive for you. But not purposefully, just lousy power steering system design. All these things are bugs that VW refuses to address. Avis is giving these things away used, it’s no wonder.

    • 0 avatar

      go to savagegeese on youtube, they just reviewed it 3 days ago and said the new model is really the old model w/ new sheetmetal

      and didn’t like it – said it was white bread and just a placeholder since Europe got the good Passat

      C&D ranked the old one at the bottom so I suspect the Passat is still in the cellar – yes, #9 out of 9

    • 0 avatar

      It is the Ultimatives Amerikanisches Auto. Germans religiously follow specifications to the letter. That is how American car must be done according to German engineers.

  • avatar

    Your favorite play by play man is 800 years old? (‘eightieth decade of life’). He certainly deserves a rest I’d say ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Some legendary calls in those years though. One of my favorites was:

      “Hamilton shoots high…now Burr Fires and DOWN GOES HAMILTON!!!”

  • avatar
    B Buckner

    Look at photos of 2021 Atlas and 2021 jeep grand Cherokee side by side. They are identical. Did i miss that VW and FCA shared development?

  • avatar
    John R

    I just priced out a Model Y for $55,990. Before tax incentives.

    -white exterior
    -white interior
    -20″ wheels

    There will be bloo…er…incentives on this.

  • avatar

    That photo from VW is a bit misleading. The Atlas can tow 5000lbs and that Airstream in the background outweighs that by a sizable amount.

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