Volkswagen tops 10 million in sales for first time

Volkswagen tops 10 million in sales for first time

January 12th, 2015 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

FILE - In this June 12, 2013, file photo, workers assemble Volkswagen Passat sedans at the German automaker's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. UAW officials in a letter to plant workers on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, said a upcoming policy change by Volkswagen will clear the way to for the union to gain its first recognition agreement with a foreign automaker in the South. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, file)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

DETROIT -- The Volkswagen Auto Group sold more than 10 million vehicles worldwide for the first time ever in 2014, and a top VW official said Sunday he's confident state incentives to expand VW's Chattanooga plant will be approved.

The German automaker delivered 10.14 million vehicles last year, including VW, Audi and Porsche models, the company said Sunday. That's four years ahead of plan, officials said.

 

Earlier, the company had set a goal of selling 10 million cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles by 2018.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group of America chief Michael Horn said he sees the Tennessee Legislature OK'ing incentives for a $900 million expansion to VW's Chattanooga plant.

"I'm very confident," he said Sunday, adding that he expects Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and his staff to visit the auto show and VW this week.

Last week, some state legislators from Hamilton County stopped short of predicting that the General Assembly will approve incentives for a VW Chattanooga plant expansion in the wake of United Auto Workers gains at the factory.

VW Auto Group CEO Martin Winterkorn said that passing the 10 million vehicle mark is "a historic milestone."

"That is impressive confirmation we are vigorously implementing our Strategy 2018 despite challenging market conditions," said Winterkorn. "We are also making good progress with our other main goals -- return on sales, customer satisfaction and [being a] top employer."

Last year's total sales were up 4.2 percent over 2013, the company said.

Christian Klingler, the VW Group's board member for sales, said December deliveries were 2.7 percent higher globally compared to the same month a year ago.

He said the group has doubled annual sales in the last 10 years.

"That is an outstanding performance," Klingler said.

In North America, the company reported a slight gain of 0.2 percent to 891,900 vehicles.

The car company topped the 10 million mark despite an off year in the U.S., down 2 percent versus 2013 to 599,700, VW reported.

But the company is spending $900 million on an expansion of the Chattanooga plant for a new midsize SUV slated for assembly in late 2016. VW also plans to add 2,000 more workers to the 2,400 who now are employed at the factory.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the group reported annual deliveries exceeding the 4 million mark for the first time. VW posted sales of 3.68 million in China, up 12.4 percent.

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