Despite shrinking markets, VW sales increase 1.3 per cent in 2019

Berlin (dpa) – Despite several markets contracting, Volkswagen reported a boost in 2019 car sales on Tuesday that enabled the world’s biggest carmaker to keep its main rival Toyota at bay.

The Volkswagen Group delivered over 10.97 million vehicles globally in 2019, up 1.3 per cent on the previous year, the German company said.

The carmaker saw significant growth in the European market, where sales were up 3.9 per cent, and in South America, where they posted a 3.2-per-cent increase. Sales in North America and the Asia-Pacific region fell by 0.5 and 0.4 per cent, respectively.

In western Europe, the company sold 3.7 million vehicles, a 4.6 per cent increase. Growth was even stronger in the carmaker’s domestic market, with Germans buying 1.3 million cars, an increase of 6.2 per cent.

In Central and Eastern Europe, VW’s deliveries rose by 1.1 per cent to 805,800, and in Russia, sales jumped by 1.6 per cent compared to 2018, reaching 233,600 vehicles.

Despite a contraction in the North America region, VW’s market share expanded slightly as sales in the US increased by 2.5 per cent to 654,200 vehicles. Sales in Canada fell by 5.3 per cent and in Mexico, where the overall market shrank, by 7.4 per cent.

VW registered more deliveries – up 3.2 per cent – and a greater share of the market in South America, which also contracted. In Brazil, VW saw significant growth of 17.1 per cent, but in Argentina, amid a difficult market situation, deliveries fell by 39 per cent.

On Monday, Volkswagen said it had seen an end-of-year surge that allowed the company to report an increase in 2019 sales of its core passenger car brand by 0.5 per cent to 6.28 million vehicles.

In autumn, the carmaker had been expecting flat figures and its strong December results were attributed in large part to Chinese demand. China is VW’s most important market and despite a slump in the market for cars as a whole, Volkswagen’s sales there rose by 0.6 per cent, and the company increased its market share.

Sales for the year at VW subsidiaries Porsche and Seat increased significantly on the previous year, by 9.6 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively. Audi sales rose by 1.8 per cent to 1.85 million.

Skoda’s business contracted slightly, by 0.9 per cent. Light commercial vehicle sales dropped 1.6 per cent compared to the year before.

Looking ahead, Volkswagen will focus on its ID.3, a wholly electric vehicle. Customer interest in VW’s e-car offerings increased by 80 per cent in 2019 to 140,000 vehicles, thanks to new models.

There are further unknowns ahead for VW this year as the economies of many countries falter. In December, chief executive Herbert Diess warned that he was seeing economic alarm signals in China and the United States.

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