VW jumps for first time in more than one year

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

Volk­swa­gen brand sales in the U.S. climbed 24 per­cent last month, the first gain in more than a year, as Europe’s big­gest au­tomaker emerged from a sales slump trig­gered by the emis­sions-cheat­ing scan­dal that was re­vealed in Septem­ber 2015.

The brand sold 29,672 ve­hi­cles in Novem­ber, com­pared with 23,882 a year ear­lier, the com­pany said in a state­ment Thurs­day. It was the first monthly in­crease since Oc­to­ber 2015. Volk­swa­gen far ex­ceeded the av­er­age of four es­ti­mates com­piled by Bloomberg for a 6 per­cent gain. Pas­sat sales more than dou­bled, Golf mod­els rose 58 per­cent and the Bee­tle posted a 39 per­cent gain.

An­a­lysts had pre­dicted deep dis­counts and pro­mo­tions would help Volk­swa­gen halt its year­long sales de­cline in the U.S. The Ger­man au­tomaker agreed to pay an in­dus­tryrecord $16.5 bil­lion in civil lit­i­ga­tion fines in the U.S. af­ter ad­mit­ting last year that its diesel mod­els were out­fit­ted with a “de­feat de­vice” that fil­tered ex­haust only when cars were be­ing tested. The car­maker is also on the hook for out­stand­ing civil claims from sev­eral states and as much as $9.2 bil­lion in in­vestor law­suits in Ger­many.

Shortly af­ter dis­clo­sure of the cheat­ing, which let ve­hi­cles spew as much as 40 times the le­gal amount of emis­sions, VW poured on dis­counts and the brand’s de­liv­er­ies rose less than 1 per­cent in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber last year. Diesel mod­els ac­counted for more than 20 per­cent of the VW brand’s U.S. vol­ume be­fore sales of the ve­hi­cles were halted be­cause of the scan­dal.

To­tal U.S. sales rose 4 per­cent for the month to 1.38 mil­lion units. That makes it the high­est Novem­ber on record, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous record of 1.32 mil­lion set in 2001, ac­cord­ing to Kel­ley Blue Book.

Gen­eral Mo­tors’ sales jumped 10 per­cent over last Novem­ber. Ford’s sales were up 5 per­cent, while Toy­ota and Hyundai both saw 4 per­cent sales in­creases. Honda’s sales were up 6.5 per­cent and Nis­san’s sales rose 7.5 per­cent.

Fiat Chrysler bucked the trend, with sales fall­ing 14 per­cent as it made big cuts in sales to rental car com­pa­nies.

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