WASHINGTON -- Continued weakness in the Volkswagen brand’s core lineup of passenger cars dragged down its U.S. sales for the sixth consecutive month in April while Audi continued to flex its muscle to notch its 64th-straight monthly record.
VW brand deliveries fell 9.7 percent last month to 27,112, VW’s lowest April sales since 2010. VW’s U.S. sales were off 12 percent through the first four months of 2016.
With a car-heavy lineup, VW has suffered amid slumping demand for midsize and compact cars industrywide. Sales of VW’s volume leader, the Jetta compact sedan, fell 6.5 percent while the Passat midsize sedan posted a 15 percent decline. Gains for the high-performance Golf R and GTI sporty hatchback failed to make up for other Golf nameplates, and the Golf compact-car family logged a 7.3 percent decline.
The Tiguan compact crossover was once again VW’s bright spot, posting a 58 percent gain last month.
“We are pleased with the performance in our retail business, driven by vehicles like the Tiguan, GTI and Golf R,” VW of America COO Mark McNabb said in a statement. “While overall sales reflect a decline, this is due in large part to an intentional decrease in fleet sales.”
VW last month reached an agreement in principle with U.S. authorities to settle several aspects of its diesel emissions violations, including buybacks and compensation to owners of affected 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.
Yet VW’s U.S. dealers are still grappling with the scandal’s fallout, including a stop-sale on new and CPO diesel models that accounted for more than 20 percent of VW’s sales prior when the violations became public last September.
Audi momentum continues
Surging demand for the redesigned A4 sedan and Q7 crossover propelled Audi to a 5.8 percent sales gain last month.
A4 sales jumped 28 percent in the redesigned sedan’s first full month of availability, overtaking the A3 compact as the luxury brand’s top-selling passenger car.
The redesigned Q7 crossover, which launched in the first quarter, gained 53 percent. Through four months, Audi’s U.S. sales were up 5 percent.
“The strength of our product portfolio, combined with consumer demand and a top-rated dealer experience, gives us confidence that we will continue our sales momentum into the summer,” Audi of America COO Mark Del Rosso said in a statement.