Record Q3 crossover sales helped Audi of America notch its second-best U.S. sales month ever in August. Meanwhile, the Volkswagen brand’s losing streak continued.
Audi sold 19,264 vehicles last month, a 2.5 percent gain over last August and behind only the 20,399 Audi sold in December 2015, the company reported Thursday.
The August gain was also Audi’s 82nd straight year-over-year U.S. sales rise, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Through August, Audi’s U.S. sales were up 3.5 percent to 134,562.
Sales of the Q3 small crossover jumped 88 percent to a record 2,238 last month, marking the first time the nameplate surpassed 2,000 sales in a single month. Continued demand for the redesigned A4 sedan and Q7 large crossover drove each nameplate to gains of more than 16 percent, blunting lower sales of Audi’s other sedans and a rare drop -- 13 percent -- in Q5 midsize crossover sales.
“August marks the end of a successful summer selling season with key models such as the Q3 drawing more customers to the brand,” Audi of America COO Mark Del Rosso said in a statement. “We are certain that our momentum will result in sustained growth this year.”
Meanwhile, VW brand sales fell 9.1 percent to 29,384 last month, VW’s 10th straight monthly decline.
August was, nonetheless, VW’s best month of 2016, aided by strong pre-Labor Day and model year-end incentives that totaled more than $4,400 per car, according to data from TrueCar.com.
Jetta sales rose 5.5 percent to 11,720, while Passat sales eased 0.3 percent to 7,389. Sales of all versions of the Golf slumped 32 percent to 4,840.
Dealers have fought for volume without the help of diesel models that accounted for 20 percent of its sales prior to VW’s emissions scandal. Removing diesels from VW’s year-over-year comparisons, the brand would have posted an 18 percent gain in August and would be up nearly 11 percent year-to-date, according to a VW spokeswoman.
‘A great two weeks’
Matthew Welch, general manager of Auburn VW, outside of Seattle, said that the strong incentives on 2016 VWs drove strong volume at his store for the last two weeks, including his best single weekend in more than a year last week, selling 18 new VWs.
“Our 2016s were gone because we had such a great two weeks,” Welch said.
VW said Aug. 25 that it had agreed to compensate dealers for losses stemming from the diesel emissions scandal, setting up a compensation fund worth a reported $1.2 billion, and that it would buy back unsellable used diesels clogging dealer lots. VW has until Sept. 30 to finalize the settlement and submit it to U.S. District Court in San Francisco, which is overseeing the VW class-action litigation for approval.
As early as October, VW will begin repurchasing as many as 475,000 2.0-liter diesels under the settlement with owners reached in July to resolve aspects of its diesel emissions scandal.
VW dealer Shannon Harper said the buyback could be one reason behind the unusually slow August at his Knoxville, Tenn., VW store. Harper said he had sold just nine new VWs a few days before the August close compared to 33 at the same time last year.
“A lot of people are delaying purchases until they do the buyback,” he said.