News Column

VW Gaining on GM in Global Sales

Jan. 14, 2013

Frank Fuhrig, dpa

Volkswagen factory

General Motors' global sales were up 3 per cent in 2012, the company announced Monday in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, keeping the revived US carmaker in second place worldwide, ahead of the fast-gaining Volkswagen group.

GM's sales reached 9.3 million vehicles last year.

VW, which announced its global number late Sunday in Detroit, saw sales leap 11.2 per cent in 2012 to 9.07 million cars. The German company sold 8.16 million vehicles in 2011.

The Detroit car show, which kicks off the industry's annual exhibit calendar, opened its press preview Monday.

The sales record for VW puts the group into a close third for global sales behind Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and GM.

Toyota's sales worldwide are estimated at 9.7 million cars, though the company has yet to issue 2012 figures.

VW believes it will take the global sales lead by 2018. The company is scheduled to open its 100th factory on Tuesday in Silao, Mexico.

Martin Winterkorn, VW managing chairman, said Volkswagen Group performed "extremely well in difficult conditions" in 2012.

VW officials refused to offer projections for 2013 sales but warned of difficult conditions particularly in the company's Western European home market, where the eurozone is back in recession.

"Tough challenges lie ahead," Winterkorn said.

VW's newest subsidiary, Porsche AG, reported global vehicle sales up 18.7 per cent last year over its record-setting 2011 deliveries. The German sports car company's 2012 sales exceeded 141,000 cars, up from nearly 119,000 a year earlier.

Matthias Mueller, Porsche president and chief executive, called it "the most successful year in our history."

Porsche became a Volkswagen Group brand in August.

Last week, VW's largest subsidiary brand, Audi, announced 2012 sales up 11.7 per cent to 1.46 million cars.

The German car industry is hungry for a bigger bite of the resurgent US market, German automotive industry association (VDA) chief Mattias Wissmann said Monday.

Since the 2007-09 US recession, which saw a crash in car sales and brought Detroit's Big Three manufacturers to their knees, the US market has been "amazingly quickly and dynamically revitalized," rebounding nearly 40 per cent - some 4 million vehicles - from the 2009 low, Wissmann said.

Sales in the US were up 13 per cent to 14.4 million cars and light trucks, including more than 1.27 million from German manufacturers, an increase of more than 21 per cent from 2011. The German market share in the US rose 0.6 percentage points to 8.8 per cent, Wissmann said.

Pointing to the new models being introduced this week in Detroit, which kicks off the global industry's annual exhibition schedule, Wissmann said that "everything suggests that we should be able grow for an eighth year in a row in North America."

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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