VW reports record 2007 global sales
Published: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 3:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 3:44 p.m.
DETROIT - Volkswagen AG reported record global sales for 2007, with its eight brands selling nearly 6.2 million vehicles.
The increase, announced Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, was led by strong sales in South America and Asia and offset declines in Germany and North America.
Sales for the Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti and VW commercial brands rose 7.9 percent over 2006 figures, the company said.
But sales in Germany were down 4.8 percent, and they dropped 0.5 percent in North America.
South American sales jumped nearly 30 percent, and the Asia Pacific unit reported a 24.1 percent increase.
Chairman Martin Winterkorn said the automaker faced difficult economic times in Germany.
"In what has been a difficult year for all automakers we have again sold over 1 million vehicles in Germany," he said.
VW brand sales were off 9.1 percent in Germany but up 7.8 percent worldwide, the company said.
Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW is Europe's biggest carmaker by sales.
Company officials also told reporters Sunday that they are nearing a decision on where to build another North American factory. The company has a plant in Mexico, but forecasts show sales growth that would require additional capacity, said Volkswagen of America President and Chief Executive Stefan Jacoby.
A new plant could be built in Mexico, Canada or the U.S., but it would be built somewhere with no more than a six hour time difference from the company's German headquarters, Jacoby said. That would put it somewhere in the Eastern time zone.
A decision is expected in the first half of the year, Jacoby said. Volkswagen executives would not comment on reports that the company is looking at sites in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Chrysler LLC is building a minivan for Volkswagen that will hit the market in the third quarter of this year. Jacoby said there are no plans for an expanded alliance with Chrysler, but he would not rule it out.
"You never should say never. Right now we have no additional plans in addition to the relationship which we have right now," Jacoby said. "It is too early to say whether we need more corporations."
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