VW Surprised by the Popularity of its Diesel Models in the U.S.

Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning said he’s surprised by the rate Americans are adopting diesel-powered models. Volkswagen is the market leader in the light-duty diesel vehicle segment in the U.S., holding a 72 percent market share - the equivalent of about 90,000 cars per year.

In the first ten months of this year, diesel vehicles made up 22 percent of Volkswagen of America’s total sales, far exceeding the company’s expectations. As the first diesel model in the U.S. mid-size sedan market, the VW Passat TDI had a key contribution to this result.

VW worried that customers may not only be reluctant to diesel, but to the brand as well, as it had to conquest a lot of customers from competitors. “We thought the step to convert them to the Volkswagen brand was going to be a fairly substantial step in itself, and then it would be an even bigger step to convert to diesel,” Jonathan Browning was quoted as saying by Autocar.

Browning added that diesel models suit American driving habits and the fuel economy they deliver is just incredible for consumers.

“In fact, because it is such a compelling offer – almost 800 miles range, and with the typical US driving profile, it is possible to get even better-than-published fuel economy with the diesel because there’s a lot of highway driving – customers are just raving about it,” the executive added.

VW originally expected 17 percent of Passat sales to be diesels, but the Passat TDI’s share is getting closer to 30 percent.

By Dan Mihalascu




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