A few years back, Volkswagen decided to change directions. Instead of being priced higher than the competition, with an emphasis on engineering and design, VW would chase the mainstream. That meant a focus on North American buying tastes, rather than a “one size fits all” approach.
Interestingly enough, this is the opposite of what the rest of the industry is doing.Anyhow, the result is cars like the 2012 VW Jetta and Passat. The Jetta has been tepidly received by the automotive press, but the Passat won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award.
U.S buyers have taken a liking to the redesigned models. So much so, in fact, that VW is on track for a 35.4 percent year-over-year increase, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Of course, we’re halfway into the year. But, if sales hold up, VW could be on track to surpass its previous sales high-water mark. That was set in 1973, thanks to the success of the Beetle. This time around, the Jetta and Passat are powering sales. The VW brand has a positive image; most consumers have come to regard it as a cut above the rest, thanks to years of messaging along those lines.
The Passat has had a few months over the critical 10,000 unit mark. One model we’ve pointed out as having a lot of potential is the diesel-powered Passat TDI. According to Frank Trivieri, vice president of sales for VW of America, sales are of are supply-constrained. Last month, the TDI accounted for 21 percent of the Passat’s overall total. Overall, VW’s year-end total in the United States could stand at around 400,000 units. That would be the halfway point for the company’s goal of 800,000 units by 2018. VW sales will need to continue at a brisk pace in order for that goal to be within reach. Given VW’s relentless pursuit of Number One status, we wouldn’t be surprised.