Sorry, eco warriors, but Volkswagen is suffering for other reasons.
Volkswagen Auto Group released its sales numbers for the first half of 2016, and business is booming. Worldwide, 5.12 million cars were sold. Amazingly that’s an improvement of 1.5% over the first six months of 2015 and good enough for first place over Toyota. This makes us wonder if people even give a crap about Dieselgate. While we can’t speak for the rest of the world, the answer in America seems to be “no.” Volkswagen AG’s sales are down in the US in 2016, and the Volkswagen brand itself has taken a major hit this year.
Through the first six months of 2016 Volkswagen has sold only 149,000 cars, a massive 14.6% drop from the first six months of 2015 when it racked up 174,400 sales. Those numbers seem to indicate that Americans are pissed at VW, right? Well, we think part of the sales dip could come not from people turning away from the automaker due to moral reasons but because there aren’t any more TDI models to buy due to a stop sale order. Volkswagen put a lot of its weight behind selling diesels, and now that it can’t a significant part of its inventory is off the market. In its August 2015 monthly sales report, the last month before the diesel scandal broke, Volkswagen proudly boasted that “TDI Clean Diesel models” made up 22.9% of its sales.
In addition to a lack of diesels, another thing hurting Volkswagen’s sales in the US is its lineup. Have you looked at it lately? There are only two SUVs in it: the Tiguan and Touareg. America is absolutely crazy for anything that you can call a crossover or SUV. The Tiguan has been a hot-seller for Volkswagen, second only to the Passat according to VW’s last monthly sales report (June 2016). But the Touareg is selling like trash and needs to be updated—and see a price cut—ASAP. To us these are the two biggest factors hurting Volkswagen right now. None of them involve public outcry, which makes it seem like no one in America but politicians and the media, gives a crap about Dieselgate.