Volkswagen posts drop in U.S. sales

Industrywide sales better than expectations

In this 2016 staff file photo, a Passat is parked at the main entrance to the Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Volkswagen of America on Monday reported that November sales fell 8 percent over the same month a year ago as the sale of cars, including the Chattanooga-built Passat, fell sharply.

Car sales plunged 15 percent in the month, while SUVs posted a 1 percent gain, according to the German automaker.

November sales were affected by a backlog in certification to meet a new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure standards, the company reported.

Still, year-to-date, sales totaled 322,017 units, up 4 percent over 2017.

For the month, sales totaled 26,789 units with drops in Passat, Golf family and the Beetle. Passat sales came in a 2,156, down 31 percent from the same month a year ago, as VW plans to start production on an all-new version next year.

SUV sales rose in November with the Chattanooga-made Atlas up 2 percent in the month to 5,233 vehicles. Also, the Tiguan SUV posted its best November ever with sales of 7,067 units, the company reported.

"Our SUV momentum continued despite a difficult month for the industry," said Derrick Hatami, executive vice president of sales, marketing and after sales for Volkswagen of America, in a statement. "Our top three volume leaders were all up year-over-year and our SUV portfolio percentage has grown steadily thanks to the Atlas and Tiguan."

Across all automakers, U.S. auto sales came in ahead of forecast for November, though other companies were down as well in the month.

Nissan North America reported the group's U.S. sales fell nearly 19 percent in November.

Honda's sales were off 9.5 percent in the month.

Ford sales declined 7 percent. Toyota sales slipped 1 percent.

However, Fiat Chrysler's sales jumped 17 percent as its Ram product line soared.

General Motors sales were projected to be up 1 percent in the month.

Hyundai-Kia reported a 1.1 percent gain in sales.

Subaru sales climbed 9.8 percent in the month, setting a record for November.

In Hamilton County, new auto registrations were 1,012 in November, slightly ahead of the 1,000 posted a year ago in the month.