2018 has been the most successful year in Volkswagen's history as the German auto giant has announced record-breaking sales of 6.24 million units growing at 0.2 per cent compared to the previous year. The growth was primarily driven by SUVs which recorded an impressive growth of 38 per cent in 2018. In the same period, passenger cars segment witnessed a nominal growth of 0.2 per cent. The share of SUVs in the overall sales has increased to 19.2 per cent in 2018 from 13.9 per cent a year ago.
Commenting on the performance, Volkswagen COO, Ralf Brandstatter said, "2019 will be another year of enormous challenges for the brand, above all in light of growing geopolitical risks. We must do our homework. Apart from volume growth, we will in future be focusing more closely on earnings performance than we have done in the past. This is about ensuring the long-term profitability of the Volkswagen brand."
Asia-Pacific remained to be the biggest market for Volkswagen at 32,85,600 units, however, the growth remained muted at -1.7 per cent as the Chinese market which is the largest volume generator remained sluggish at 31,10,000 units, witnessing a de-growth of 2.1 per cent. Moreover, the sales remained under pressure in Turkey due to currency volatility. The growth in European market stood at 3.6 per cent selling 17,49,500 units and South America grew at 13.1 per cent selling 474,000 units in the same period. However, sales in North America took a hit from the economic disruptions in the Mexican market and witnessed a slump of 3 per cent at 573,800 units.
After observing a greater demand for SUVs, Volkswagen is set to have a product offensive which will include 30 SUV models by 2025. The company is expecting SUVs to make a vital contribution to strengthening core business, enabling the brand to initiate the necessary multi-billion investments in e-mobility and autonomous driving.