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VW making progress in tough US market

The Local · 5 Aug 2011, 07:36

Published: 05 Aug 2011 07:36 GMT+02:00

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"We've got tremendous momentum in the market place," Jonathan Browning, chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America said.

Sales for the first seven months of the year are outpacing the market with a 22 percent rise to nearly 150,000 vehicles and are expected to continue to grow as the German automaker expands its offerings.

Lower base prices – with the Passat, Golf, Beetle, and Jetta now starting at under $20,000 ($14,164) – have dramatically expanded VW's reach.

Last year's Passat only competed in about seven to eight percent of the midsized car segment, Browning said in an interview on the sidelines of an automotive conference in Traverse City, Michigan.

"The new Passat with the price range and the product offerings will actually compete in more than 70 percent," he said. "It's a steep change in terms of the access to the market."

While VW has received some criticism in the automotive press for the somewhat stripped-down base models, Browning insists that VW has not "diluted the heart of the brand."

"The DNA is the same, the engineering is the same, the quality is the same," he said. "Even the entry level Jetta, if you drive that on the highway enthusiastically, it's a vehicle that feels planted on the road and has all those qualities that make a VW a VW."

And since VW still has plenty to offer passionate customers with the means to pay a premium it has managed to keep its median transaction price "essentially unchanged," he said.

VW aims to be the world's leading automaker by 2018 and to expand its global sales to 10 million vehicles annually.

The United States figures prominently in those plans, with sales goals of 800,000 VWs a year – up from 213,000 in 2010 – and 200,000 Audis, more than double the 83,000 sold last year.

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"Selectively, we may see some opportunities for new products like the Golf R that really reinforces the qualities of the brand," Browning said.

"The first job is to really go deeper into the segments.”


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:35 August 5, 2011 by rfwilson
It seems that VW is a lot more enthusiastic about their Jetta, than independent reviewers are!

Here is a quote from Consumers Reports....

¦quot;The new Jetta is unimpressive,¦quot;says David Champion, senior director of the magazine¦#39;s auto test center. ¦quot;In an effort to bring the car¦#39;s starting price down, VW cheapened the previous Jetta¦#39;s interior and suspension, making it less sophisticated and compromising handling.¦quot;
08:12 August 6, 2011 by WAKeele
That's because theTDI have such a strong following here in the U.S. When that quality drops and you aren't seeing the non-standard assortment of base feature you've come to love about a VW in a U.S. market, you are disappointed.

I just hope VW can actually step up servicing for TDIs at ALL dealerships in the U.S. Right now, you are lucky to find one that doesn't do more harm than good when they touch a TDI.

And of course, instead of hitting the market hard with very fuel efficient TDIs, they are pushing the crappy gasoline models that give VWs a bad name. This is were VW USA marketing are morons. EVERY SINGLE PERSON I tell about the fuel economy of the TDIs I've owned are one, shocked that a non-hybrid gets that, two, there are diesel cars?!? and three, I should have bought one. Americans just don't know about them. If I can convert Southern SUV lovers, I sure would hope million-dollar corporate marketing could.
01:52 August 9, 2011 by electric38
Where are the Volkswagon electrics? Volkswagon was a great success when they dominated the economy car market. Why aren't they doing the same with the economy electric car market? The solar infrastructure that will assist the bottom line cost of the vehicle is being built to a higher degree every day. Allowing a swappable battery will only make the vehicle more useful. C'mon Volkswagon.. get with the times!!
19:10 August 9, 2011 by mkvgtired
I have owned a 20th anniversary GTI, and now own an MKV GTI. I love these cars. I spoke to a salesman the other day and the new GTI only comes with HID headlights with package 3 models. I.E. you can not get HIDs and a sunroof without paying for navigation, leather, etc. Now a GTI with the options I want is over $30,000. I have to say there are other options for this price. I absolutely love my current GTI, and my previous one, but $30,000 before any modifications is a little ridiculous.
13:30 August 16, 2011 by dbert4
I love me Golf TDI, I'll buy another when the time comes. But VW is making the same mistakes in the US that the US automakers do. They need to operate like a German company rather than an American one.
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