Halfway through an ambitious, 10-year plan to more than triple sales in the lucrative United States market, Volkswagen has hit a bit of a rough patch.
Learn more about VW’s efforts to expand its U.S. presence.
Halfway through an ambitious, 10-year plan to more than triple sales in the United States, Volkswagen has hit a bit of a rough patch: Sales and market share are down slightly in the first half of the year, and some analysts blame an aging lineup.
But the German automaker promises new models, engines and upgrades to meet its goal.
At a conference center in Maryland on Thursday, Volkswagen AG Chairman Martin Winterkorn and top U.S. executives addressed about 500 American dealers on their product plans. They promised to bring a mid-size SUV to the United States, and showed a video with sketches of the next-generation Passat, CC and Tiguan, expected sometime after 2015. And the dealers saw a face-lifted 2015 Jetta due in 2014, as well as a Jetta Sportwagen due after 2015.
Volkswagen is the top auto company in the world, in terms of revenues, profits and assets, and has not been hammered as badly as others in the troublesome European market that is its home base.
But it’s in a dogfight in some key global markets such as China, where it continues to pursue General Motors. And it’s stuck with a small sliver of the lucrative U.S. market — 2.6 percent for the Volkswagen brand in June, and 3.6 percent when its Audi luxury brand is factored in.
“It’s not about one month or one quarter’s sales performance,” said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America, in an interview Friday. “It’s about building a sustainable growth program. We’ve always recognized that this would be a year of — let’s call it ‘consolidation.’”
To sustain that growth, Volkswagen plans to build a mid-size SUV, capitalize on its diesel expertise and refine its lineup.