It was a year of rebuilding for Volkswagen after the shock of the emissions cheating scandal, which required many meetings with government departments and rolling out updates for diesel engines.
Sales slumped, too – down 6.7 percent to the end of November after a similar drop in 2015 – predominantly due to its small cars, Volkswagen Polo and Golf. Volkswagen also spent plenty of time focusing on after-sales service, an area that desperately needed attention.
2016 SALES: 58K
2016 YTD: results*52,006 sales, down 6.7%, 4.8% market share
2017 forecast: 63K
RANKING: 8th; 63,000 sales (up 8.6%), 5.3% market share
Get ready for a big year for Volkswagen in 2017. A full year of the new Volkswagen Tiguan should alone account for decent sales growth. Then there’s the updated Golf (Golf 7.5), which should reignite interest in the brand’s top-seller. And the V6 Amarok’s solid start in the sales race should build momentum throughout the year, with more variants planned to capitalise on healthy demand. Throw in the improved customer service and Volkswagen is a brand that should be on the up.
Volkswagen’s “premium for the people” positioning means it won’t be fighting hard on price, something that potentially limits the scope of its growth. But at the same time Volkswagen can benefit from the luxury push into mainstream markets. Great driving dynamics, quality interiors, increasingly healthy equipment lists and European lineage mean Volkswagen is one of the best-positioned to convince someone shopping a Mercedes/BMW/Audi to at least consider one of its wares.
It’s been a character-building year but Volkswagen has risen to the challenge, acknowledging some of its failings along the way. Next step is to capitalise on some excellent new arrivals.