Volkswagen US Sales Fall 12.5% in First 2016 Quarter, Golf and Passat Hit Hard

2015 Golf 2.0 TDI 1 photo
Photo: Volkswagen
What did you expect when the one major advantage Volkswagen had over its competitors was gone. We are talking about the frugality of a TDI diesel engine, without which many people would not even consider a Passat or Golf.
Sales are down 10.36% in March 2016 compared to the same month of last year. Things continue to look bad for a number of key models. Over the first three months of the year, which some people call Q1, demand for VWs has gone down 12.53%.

We find that the numbers look particularly bad for the core models. For example, the Golf is still a brand new car, having been introduced as a 2015 model year. But they are down to just 1,069 units per month, down 47.1% in the first quarter.

What people do want to buy are the hot versions of the Golf. The GTI sold 1,968 units, down by just 1.5% in March. Meanwhile, the Golf R sales declined by 15.5% during last month, but came out looking spectacular in the first quarter, with an almost 40% increase. For a compact that starts at over $35,000, that's not bad at all.

The Jetta is suffering, but only a little. However, the Passat is slipping 21.8% in March or 31.1% in the first quarter. That's their second most important model, and it just lost a third of its market share, despite having received substantial 2016MY updates. But that's what you get when you sell this outdated stuff instead of the new European car.

The Beetle 2.0 TDI was very popular. Guess what happens when you take that engine away? Sales drop over 42% in three months.

Besides the GTI and the R, there are a few other models that are doing alright. One of them is the e-Golf, but it hasn't got huge volumes to compensate for the Passat. The newly introduced Golf SportWagen sold 968 units in March and 2,309 during the entire quarter. Despite a new model being less than a year away, people bought over 50% more Tiguan crossover utility vehicles.

“We are pleased with the continued strong performance of the Tiguan,” said Mark McNabb, chief operating officer, Volkswagen of America. “While overall sales saw a decline for the month, Volkswagen dealers improved in terms of retail business.”
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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