Volkswagen Australia managing director Michael Bartsch jumped firmly onto the front foot this morning, contending that strong sales of its diesel-dominated van and ute range in June was another example of buyers “not being swayed by sensationalism” regarding Dieselgate.
Volkswagen revealed June sales figures for its commercial range this morning ahead of the publication of VFACTS industry data, saying 1836 found homes during the month — traditionally the year’s busiest.
This makes it the second-biggest month for commercial vehicle sales in Volkswagen Australia’s history. It’s also moderately up on June 2015, though we’d note that the company launched new-generation versions of the Transporter and (petrol-powered) Caddy over the ensuing period, and therefore yielded a likely sales fillip.
Interestingly, almost 40 per cent of Amarok sales were of the Highline variant despite most of its campaigning being focused on the Core workhorse variant. The private-buyer-focused Highline starts at $52,990 plus on-road costs.
Bartsch's bold call follows the combative line Volkswagen Australia took on the diesel issue last week.
It’s clear that Volkswagen Australia is keen to meet the issue, which hasn’t really hurt its sales to any major degree here, head on, rather than simply hoping it goes away.
While we’re on the subject of Volkswagen Australia’s sales holding up, it’s suitable to note that they did in fact take a noticeable double-digit hit last month (the second month in succession), though the company does not chalk this up to Dieselgate.
Volkswagen sold 5913 units in June, down from 7103 in June 2015, representing a dip of 17 per cent. Its best-selling car was the Golf with 2363 (about 20 per cent being the GTI), down from 2682 last year, broadly in line with the drop in small cars (excluding the heavily discounted Hyundai i30 at the bottom end).
Elsewhere, the Polo managed 707 sales (Volkswagen called this a “surge back”, though this figure is in fact down on the 1041 it sold in June last year), while the Passat sedan and wagon moved to 320 (up from 149) and the large Touareg SUV chalked up 248 (down from 312).
The outgoing Tiguan recorded 325, less than half what it managed last June, but this is because the company has basically run out of stock in the lead-up to the launch of the brand new version in a few months time, and which we’ve reviewed from Europe here.