You Can’t Have This Passat, But
History Suggests You Wouldn’t Buy It
The Toyota Camry, America’s best-selling car, was thus naturally America’s best-selling midsize car in 2013. Camry sales slid 5% in December 2013, and the Camry didn’t lead the category last month as Honda Accord volume jumped 10%.
Camry sales growth in 2013 stalled, but the midsize Toyota didn’t suffer the way some of its rivals did. The overpriced Buick Regal, which its dreadful sales figures suggest isn’t really a rival for midsize cars or entry-level luxury cars, slid 24%. Chevrolet Malibu volume was down 5%. In its last full model year of the current generation, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger sales fell 2% and 3%, respectively. Also late in its current lifecycle, Hyundai Sonata volume plunged 12%, not unpredictably, and it still outsold the Malibu.
Yet perhaps of greatest consequence in terms of future product planning, sales of the Volkswagen Passat – a car that’s visiting GCBC Towers in TDI form this week – slid 6%, a 7371-unit drop. The Passat didn’t have the benefit of being brand new in 2013. (Passat sales rose to record levels in the U.S. in 2012.) And it’s possible that the Passat simply isn’t enough of a Volkswagen; isn’t Volkswagenesque the way we want it to be to continue attracting buyers after the early glow has been buffed off.
Initially, Volkswagen’s Americanization of their two sedans – Jetta and Passat – seemed to pay off. Very quickly thereafter, however, sales haven’t just stalled, they’ve tumbled, and they’ve done so in a market that’s rapidly growing.
You can click any model name in the tables below to find historical monthly and yearly U.S. auto sales data. You can also select a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page. These tables are now sortable, so you can rank midsize cars any which way you like. Suggestions on how GCBC should break down segments can be passed on through the Contact page.