VW jumps for first time in more than one year
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.