published Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Volkswagen Passat sales hit records for June, half year

Joanne Benante, of Norcross, Ga., who purchased the 100,000th Passat made at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, parks her new car after a ceremony at the VW conference center.
Joanne Benante, of Norcross, Ga., who purchased the 100,000th Passat made at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, parks her new car after a ceremony at the VW conference center.
Photo by John Rawlston.

Model, number and percent change from a year ago:

Golf -- 2,602, down 36.4 percent

Jetta -- 14,813, up 8.9 percent

Beetle -- 3,780, up 29.7 percent

Eos -- 430, down 39.7 percent

Passat -- 10,874, up 6.1 percent

CC -- 1,209, down 35 percent

Tiguan -- 2,452, down 15 percent

Touareg -- 642, down 19.1 percent

Routan -- 155, down 85.3 percent

• Total -- 36,957, down 3.2 percent

Source: Volkswagen Group of America

As Passat sales hit new records in June, a city panel Tuesday earmarked nearly $3 million more for Enterprise South industrial park to handle rain runoff, including for Volkswagen land eyed for potential expansion.

U.S. sales of Passat flirted with the 11,000 mark last month as 10,874 of the Chattanooga-made sedans were sold for a June record, according to VW.

For the first half of the year, Passat also posted a new high of 56,119 in sales.

"The objective was getting 10,000 a month," said Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen Group of America's chief executive, about Passat sales. "We're seeing it build that place in the marketplace."

Passat sales were up 6.1 percent for the month and nearly 2 percent for the six months compared to the same periods last year. The Passat sales gains came even as overall VW sales fell 3.2 percent last month to 36,957 vehicles.

Browning, in a conference call with journalists and analysts, noted that year-to-date comparisons are with rapid growth figures in the brand over the past two years. He said June sales are up 30 percent over June 2011.

Also Tuesday, the Chattanooga Industrial Development Board agreed to spend up to $2.96 million more for runoff detention at Enterprise South, where VW built its $1 billion assembly plant to make its American version of the Passat.

City Engineer Bill Payne said that about $1 million already was spent on the project and the new money will add more volume for runoff.

Payne said that while no expansion on the VW property is imminent, all 1,300 acres belonging to the carmaker at Enterprise South are included in the expanded detention project. He said funding will come from state grant money.

Already, about $3 million of state funds are being spent to ready property next to the VW plant should the German automaker decide to mirror its existing factory in the future. The state also is funding that project.

While VW doesn't have plans to mirror the plant, the company is looking at expanding production by adding a potential new sport utility vehicle. A decision is expected this year.

Browning told journalists that more than 31 percent of all Passats sold last month sported the clean diesel engine and there's still room for growth.

"We believe a lot customers are not fully aware of the benefits," he said, which include higher fuel economy than gas-powered Passats.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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