Volkswagen fails in the US

With only one exception, Volkswagen of America is the least successful big car company with a presence in the United States.

By 247 Wall St. Oct 2, 2013 2:21PM

Volkswagen logo on the grill of a 2013 Volkswagen GTI © Gene J. Puskar/AP

24/7 Wall St.By Douglas A. McIntyre


With only one exception, Volkswagen of America is the least successful big car company with a presence in the United States. And that presence is dwindling as consumers find better alternatives to its products.


VW global management says it hopes to pass Toyota Motor (TM)and General Motors (GM) as the largest auto manufacturer in the world. Without impressive sales in America, the world's second largest car market after China, that is impossible.


Volkswagen sold 314,833 vehicles in the United States through September, down from 323,090 in the same period of last year. That means sales are off almost 3 percent in an American market in which car and light truck sales are up more than 8 percent for the same period.


Hyundai and its stable mate Kia have done about as badly as VW. Some of their troubles can be blamed on the scandal triggered by the very public confession that the miles per gallon their cars get were inflated. VW does not have a convenient excuse like that one.


At the core of VW's disadvantage is that the buying public does not think much of its cars. In the 2013 J.D. Power measure of initial quality, Volkswagen was well down the list. In the J.D. Power dependability study, VW's numbers are even worse.


Another of VW's problems is its small line up of models. It has only three sedans and two compacts. And it has only two SUV models. Even Subaru, which has sales in the same range as VW, has a larger list of models.


VW cannot succeed in America without a greater number of models and better grades for quality. Its market share in the United States is well under 3 percent, and that figure is shrinking.


More from 24/7 Wall St.:

Oct 2, 2013 4:05PM
I bought a new Passat GLX in 1999.  I drove it for four years, paid it off, then promptly traded it for a Honda.  During those four years, it gave me nothing but electrical problems.  The first two years were under warrantee.  After that, I had to pay big bucks.  Two real annoyances were I had to make an appointment over a month in advance.  And once I had to wait for a part to arrive from Germany.  It was a beautiful car to drive, with no rattles and as airtight as a tomb.  But, it was too much of a nuisance to keep on the road.  Never again.
Oct 2, 2013 4:17PM
The fact that they only give a 3 year or 36k mile warranty does not help either.
Oct 2, 2013 5:01PM
So, VW cannot succeed with in America without more models...but Subaru has more models (as this article stated) and their sales are in the same range...this goes to show that simply creating more models will not generate sales...
Oct 2, 2013 3:47PM
VW's reliability is still near the bottom with JD Power and Consumer Digest, and my own personal experience with their luxury brand, Audi, makes me never want another VW product until they prove otherwise. Once VW starts making more reliable cars, and develops a reputation as such, their market share will rise.
Oct 2, 2013 4:07PM
VW could DOMINATE the market if only they would bring us their euro line-up. I know it's an expensive thing for a car company to do that, but their bean-counters are way too cheap to invest in their future like that. anyhow.

Oct 2, 2013 4:52PM

I wonder the purpose of this article.  Very short and to the point jab at VW.  Could it be that people are beginning to realize that you can have a full size non-hybrid that drives like a sportscar and get 50+ mpg (Diesel) and big oil and Detroit don't like it?


Just curious why MSN would go out of their way to say VW s_x


BTW. I 've had a Jetta Diesel for 6 years and it has been a very good car.  Drives like a race car and sips fuel.   You just have to find someone that knows how to fix them.  Unfortunately it's often not the dealer.  That's where most people get their dislike of VWs.     



Oct 2, 2013 5:15PM

Bring back the VW Scirocco !!!!!!!!!!!!

Oct 2, 2013 4:28PM
Say what you want, I've had three VW TDI's since 2009 ( jetta sedan,sportwagen and golf manual) ALL are nice cars that have great performance and get over 50 mpg on the hwy. No brake downs or problems.  I would buy another when it comes to dependability, performance and mileage.
Oct 2, 2013 4:27PM
I used to love VW's in the 1990's and was loyal to the brand. But after a new Beetle, a new Jetta and a Audi TT (another VW product) all had one electrical problem after another, it was 3 strikes and you are out. It is a shame as they are fun cars to drive, but VW spent a lot of time living off the glory of the past.
Oct 2, 2013 4:36PM
I have a 2011 Jetta TDI, after 2 years and 5 pages with 9 entries each I have averaged 46.1 MPG.  Hell of a lot better than the 30 city/42 highway they advertise.  There have only been 3 recalls, one to put a decal around the filler pipe to remind gas jockeys that this is a diesel, one to take off the dual chrome tips on the tailpipe ( someone might whack their shins on that extra 1/2 inch???) and one fuel line that could(?) crack.  No other issues outside of an oxygen sensor that is covered under warranty.  Starts right up in the cold winters of Maine, I'm impressed and this from an avid hater of VW's when I had to work on the damnable air cooled POS.  I believe Passat got the car of the year!!!
Oct 2, 2013 4:12PM
VW takes forever to upgrade their models. They dish out improvements in performance and mileage in small doses and only after they've bled every last buck out of the old model. 
People get tried of waiting and look elsewhere. For example, VW has an American GTD , a spirited high mpg diesel brother to the GTI ready for their line up but wont release the car until at least 2016. They have other upgraded versions of current models and new models that would draw more interest in the product line, they just take forever getting them to the public.
Oct 2, 2013 4:28PM
In 2002 when I went looking for a car I decided on a VW as one possibility, until I found out that you could not order the awd option and get a stick shift.  Bought a Subaru wrx instead and its still going strong 11 years later.
Oct 2, 2013 4:19PM
I love my 2013 Jetta.  Awesome Car.  So well built and sturdy compared to my old Nissan.  I will take a VW over Nissan any day!!!
Oct 2, 2013 4:26PM
The big problem with VW is cost to service and initial purchase price is high. My cousin owns one cost of oil change is 150 dollars for some eco engine crap they have. If were not for that I love their diesel engines get some of the best mileage around.
Oct 2, 2013 5:00PM

Am still driving my "04 Passat wagon.  Do not regret for one minute buying. 


Only issue is that servicing at the dealership is pricy.


Not sure if I will stick with VW in the future, but would at least give it a look when the time comes.

Oct 2, 2013 2:34PM
Volkswagon only has to do one simple thing to have a industry leading car.  Make the Jetta Sportwagon AWD with their TD engine for under $35k nicely equipped.  They will own the market.  btw...also make an AWD Golf TD vs having to buy the R model. 
Oct 2, 2013 4:21PM
I bought a new VW a few years back,,, the dealership sucked... the car was terrible.... worst car I've ever owned! Stay away from VW's, plenty of better cars on the market.. at a better price!
Oct 2, 2013 4:17PM
I have two original air cooled beetles. I now drive a chevy cavalier. If they made the beetle styled more like the original then the squashed wide thing that it is (Second generation). I would want one and they would sell a lot more of them. They should have made the new bus which was to look like the original although the project was canned. It would have sold well too. Too bad VW, you've lost another customer again.
Oct 2, 2013 3:54PM
Volkswagen cars for the us market are so so and quirky. The japanese has the us market figured out and thier sales number reflect it. Where they screwed up is they should have made the rabbit/golf/gti thier world car. This is the only volkswagen worth buying in my opinion the rest are just cars left in the dust.
Oct 2, 2013 3:43PM
Choices: Risk a VW, or buy a 'Roo that will still be running in 20 years.

- 'Roo.
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