No, that is not a typo.
We'll be the first to admit we can't get fully behind the new Volkswagen Golf R (or the GTI, for that matter). That's because, like the ID.4, the Golf R and GTI have an utterly intolerable infotainment system that was so poorly thought out that we wouldn't be surprised if the guy who designed them has since been fired. Yet despite that, the range-topping Golf has posted impressive sales since its launch last year, at a critical time for the performance compact.
We say critical because let's face it, the GTI and R are not long for the world. You either die a performance car hero or live long enough to see yourself become the EV. So, perhaps that's why sales of the R rose by a staggering 23,980% in 2022. That's not a typo - VW has sold nearly 240 times more Golf Rs this year than it had at this same point last year.
This bold number is part of VW's Q2 2022 sales report, which is otherwise pretty uninspiring. Another bold number for the Golf R is that its year-on-year quarterly sales for Q2 have improved by 10,500% - equivalent to VW selling 105 times more Golf Rs in the second quarter of 2022 than it did in the same period of 2021. How can this be true, you ask? Well, it's less a statement of performance enthusiasts putting their money where their mouth is and more a case of the Golf R having a really, really slow start to sales last year.
In 2021, Volkswagen of America sold just one (1) Golf R in the first quarter and only another four (4) in the second. This should come as no surprise as the Golf R officially only went on sale as a 2022 model year vehicle. The first media drives only happened in November, so those registered in the first half of 2021 were likely not customer cars. By comparison, VW has sold 1,204 of the high-performance hatches so far in 2022, of which 424 have been moved in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, other models, including the GTI, didn't fare so well. GTI sales only rose by 6.4% for Q2 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 with 2,644 cars sold during the last three months.
There's some stark news for sedan sales from the German automaker, however. Passat sales declined by 99.1% in Q2 since the sedan's death was declared and production ended in January - moving just 63 cars in Q2 compared to last year's 6,832 cars in Q2. Jetta sales fell by 36.4% - from 20,295 cars to 12,913 - and even the svelte Arteon suffered, with only 123 cars sold in Q2 2022 compared to 1,682 cars in the same period last year, representing a 92.7% drop.
Despite the popularity of SUVs, only one high-riding model managed to post year-on-year gains. The Taos launched last year and has seen Q2 growth of 189.1% and year-to-date growth of 466% with 27,955 cars sold since the start of 2022. Meanwhile, the Tiguan has declined by 45.9% in Q2, the Atlas is down by 29.2%, and the Atlas Cross Sport by 44.4%. On the whole, car sales are down by 48.3% and SUV sales by 29.4%. SUVs now make up 79.3% of all of Volkswagen's passenger car sales in the USA.
However, most importantly (for the brand's future at least), the ID.4's sales plummeted by 71.2%, moving only 1,660 units in Q2 2022.