Volkswagen Brand's U.S. Sales Decline 10% in Fifth Straight Drop

  • Jetta, Passat tumble while deliveries of Tiguan SUV jump 53%
  • Lack of diesel models continues to weigh on monthly volume

Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand said its March U.S. sales fell 10 percent, declining for a fifth straight month as the German automaker struggles after regulators revealed in September that it cheated on diesel-emissions tests.

Deliveries slid to 26,914, Volkswagen said in a statement Friday. The drop was wider than the 9 percent average of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales were down 9.6 percent for the Jetta, the brand’s top-selling model family, and 22 percent for the Passat.

“While overall sales saw a decline for the month, Volkswagen dealers improved in terms of retail business,” Mark McNabb, chief operating officer of Volkswagen of America, said in the statement. He praised the performance of the Tiguan sport utility vehicle, sales of which jumped 53 percent to 3,519.

Volkswagen stopped selling most of its diesel-powered vehicles after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California regulators caught the company rigging engines on about 11 million vehicles so that emissions controls switched on only during testing. Last week, a federal judge extended the deadline until April 21 for an agreement to get 600,000 of its diesel vehicles off U.S. roads.

The scandal has also riled U.S. dealers. The head of the retailers’ advisory council met with Volkswagen executives last month, and another meeting is slated to occur Saturday amid the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.

Volkswagen’s American depositary receipts fell 3.2 percent to $28.05 at 10:42 a.m. New York time. They fell 20 percent from Sept. 18, when the emissions cheating was revealed, through Thursday.