VW now more Asian than European

While the French government has crisis talks about job losses at Peugeot, VW sales continue to soar. Worldwide sales for the first half of 2012 were up 8.9% to a nice round 4.5 million units.

Sales in central and eastern Europe were up 27.3% and sales in Germany rose 4.4%. Only Western Europe excluding Germany saw a fall of 5.7%. Sales in the USA were up by 22% and Asia saw a rise of 17.6% – to an incredible 2.8 million units.That means more than half of all VW group cars are now sold in Asia. That is why VW is the only “European” mainstream car manufacturer that is still doing well – it is not really European any more.

The success is pretty well spread around the group. Skoda is now a big success and sold 493,000 in the first half of 2012. It should make a million cars this year, which is quite a change from the 200,000 a year when VW bought the company in 1991. Audi was up by 12% to 653,000, and no doubt will report stellar profits at the end of the year.

VW has one problem child and, surprise, surprise, it is the Mediterranean brand, Seat. Sales were down 12% to 163,000 in the first half, as its home Spanish market pretty well vapourised.

We did express our sympathy for Seat’s plight to a VW executive who said, “Skoda piled into China and made it a big success, while Seat were sitting in Barcelona doing nothing”. Not big on sympathy for Southern Europe, the Germans.