The lower volume levels at which most luxury automakers play necessitate the acceptance of significant year-over-year percentage changes. Some years, a Germany-based luxury automaker can flaunt huge gains, like Mercedes-Benz’s 67.3% improvement in E-Class sales in 2010. For others, like Audi with their A4, a significant 7.3% drop is to be accepted as part of doing business on the high-dollar playing field. “Wait for the new model”, they’d say.
What makes this somewhat hard to believe is the impact Volkswagen has (or doesn’t have) on the American automotive landscape. Like crop circles which show up rarely but manage to steer the public conscience anyway, Volkswagen’s total sales volume in the United States is less than the sales of Honda’s Civic so far this year. Despite these paltry numbers, Volkswagen’s always the talk of the town. Whether it’s the all-new and much cheaper 2011 Volkswagen Jetta or a new diesel engine for the Touareg SUV, Americans love to discuss Volkswagen. They just don’t love buying them.
Of course, Volkswagen’s plans for the aforementioned 2011 Jetta include much, much higher sales volume. More car for less money should work, right? After that, a replacement for the mucho-expensivo Passat will be supposedly more in keeping with American tastes. Volkswagen intends to be the planet’s largest automaker.
To do so, the company will need to fare a lot better in the planet’s most car-crazy nation. The regular Passat needs to find its way onto the list you see below. There shouldn’t be so many luxury cars in the gap between the Jetta and other VWs. And the Top 10 Best-Selling European SUVs In America list probably needs a great Volkswagen presence, as well.
And one more thing: if your Volkswagen was built in Mexico, it’s still a European car.