Diesels drive record Passat sales in July

Diesels drive record Passat sales in July

August 2nd, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Aerial image shows new Volkswagen Passats in the parking of the VW plant at Enterprise South.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

The diesel Passat is made in Chattanooga.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

Volkswagen sold more Passats in July than ever before in the month with sales powered by its diesel model, the company reported Thursday.

Nearly 40 percent of the 10,051 Chattanooga-made Passats sold in July were the TDI version, according to the automaker.

“Passat has been a real mover,” said Mark McNabb, Volkswagen of America’s chief operating officer.

Passat sales were up 11.6 percent in July over a year ago. Through July, sales of the midsize sedan have hit a record 66,170, the company reported.

Frank Trivieri, VW of America’s executive vice president of sales, said that Passat “continues to do an outstanding job for us.” He also cited sales of the compact Jetta and the Beetle.

Still, Passat sales have hit the two record marks even though all VW sales are down for the month and the year.

VW posted total sales of 35,779 for July, down 3.3 percent over the same month in 2012. Year to date, VW sales are off 1.3 percent.

McNabb noted that VW has come a long way in three years in terms of U.S. sales.

“We’re coming off some pretty strong numbers,” he said. “Keep in perspective where we came from.”

McNabb also noted that it is phasing out sales of the Routan minivan, selling only 155 for July.

VW is expected to OK a new seven-seat sport utility vehicle for production, which could occur in Chattanooga.

Concerning Passat diesel sales, he cited the higher miles per gallon it achieves versus a gasoline engine. Also, he cited the range between fill-ups as well as the amount of low-end torque in the diesel product.

“It has hit dependability, reliability and performance,” McNabb said. “That’s really in the customer sweet spot.”

Passat TDI is rated at 43 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city.

However, the TDI is more expensive than the gasoline-powered equivalent, and diesel fuel costs more than gas at the pump.

The 2013 Passat SE TDI was priced at $26,225, while the Passat SE was put at $23,945, according to Volkswagen.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.