In 2009, throughout the depths of a world monetary disaster the likes of which generations had by no means seen, Volkswagen of America set forth on a nine-year plan that may greater than triple gross sales to 800,000 items in 2018.
Stuff occurred. A disaster (or two) acquired in the best way. A very Americanized product lineup missing in utility automobiles underachieved. Volkswagen misplaced its proper to promote diesel fashions in America. Volkswagen will wrestle to promote 400,000 new automobiles in america in 2018.
Though at first it appeared potential — Volkswagen gross sales grew far quicker than the market as a complete exiting the recession — the 800,000-unit gross sales purpose has lengthy since been deserted. By 2014, earlier than the diesel emissions scandal even broke, now-departed Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn was questioning the timing of the 800,000-sales purpose.
Because the summer time of 2017 approaches a detailed, nevertheless, Volkswagen’s world boss Herbert Diess has a brand new, seemingly unrealistic purpose for the model’s U.S. operations, Bloomberg experiences. With a stronger SUV lineup, Volkswagen needs to develop its U.S. market share to five p.c in 2020.
Volkswagen’s market share in 2017? Lower than 2 p.c.
Curiously, 5 p.c market share in america equals someplace between 750,000 and 900,000 gross sales, relying on the power of the market. In 2015, for instance, Jeep claimed 5 p.c market share with 872,908 gross sales. Jeep then grabbed 5.three p.c of 2016’s market with 926,376 gross sales. By way of 2017’s first seven months, roughly 500,000 gross sales could be required for five p.c market share.
Volkswagen bought 188,329 automobiles throughout 2017’s first seven months.
In fact, we’ve but to see the actual affect of Volkswagen’s new SUV technique. Gone is a utility car lineup that included the undersized Tiguan and outlandishly priced Touareg. The Touareg is discontinued within the U.S. market after the 2017 mannequin 12 months.The primary-gen Tiguan turns into the decontented, lower-priced, subcompact crossover-competing Tiguan Restricted. In comes the all-new second-generation Tiguan with far more room and an out there third row. That Tiguan serves as a follow-up to the correctly giant first-gen Atlas, Volkswagen’s first true competitor for the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander.
But on Volkswagen’s quest so as to add 2.5 occasions extra market share over the subsequent three years, the model’s plan doesn’t embrace the T-Roc — a real rival for the Honda HR-V, Buick Encore, and Jeep Renegade. Whereas the U.S. market earns greater than 40 p.c of its gross sales from the SUV/crossover sector, Volkswagen presently produces solely 14 p.c of its U.S. gross sales from utility automobiles, a determine Herbert Diess expects to skyrocket within the subsequent few years. Globally, Diess needs 40 p.c of worldwide Volkswagen gross sales to be SUV-derived.
There can be a brand new model of the Jetta, nonetheless Volkswagen’s finest vendor, subsequent 12 months. Volkswagen isn’t so silly as to assume the current-sized lineup can be enough to develop market share to five p.c. However whatever the dimension of the lineup, the variety of SUVs, the affordability of automobiles, and the variety of electrical choices, this stage of progress could be a surprising achievement if truly achieved.
Volkswagen has failed to take action prior to now. It’s troublesome to consider the corporate can accomplish that now.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Fact About Vehicles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.internet. Observe on Twitter @timcaincars.