Overall sales for Volkswagen of America are down 2.6 percent year-to-date, and officials said Tuesday morning that the Chattanooga-made Passat is still drawing strong interest from consumers.
"We are still seeing a strong demand for the Passat this year," Frank Trivieri, vice president of sales for Volkswagen America, said Tuesday morning in a conference call with media.
Dealers delivered 7,900 Passats in September.
When asked about the local UAW unionization situation, leaders referred reporters to comments from last month, when VW President Jonathan Browning said the situation will run its course.
Click here to see the comments from last month.
The Passat TDI—the only clean diesel in the midsize sedan segment—sold 2,784 clean diesels. That represents 35.2 percent of its sales mix.
In overall sales, officials reported that dealers sold 31,920 vehicles in September and 314,833 units year-to-date.
"VW has fallen short of the industry in terms of sales growth this year," senior analyst with Edmunds.com Jessica Caldwell said in a prepared statement. "The company is struggling with phased-out vehicles and finding volume in segments in which they are overshadowed by more recognizable nameplates. Incentive spending, while down from last month's aggressive spend, is still more than double what it was last September."
There were 23 sales days in September this year but 25 last year, which impacted the numbers, officials said.
And some vehicles are being "phased out" to make way for new models, which also impacts sales numbers, officials said.
"While September was an expectedly tough month for the industry, Volkswagen is seeing some stability, as we are consistently pacing at a solid level of performance for the second year in a row, a level we haven’t seen in 40 years," Mark McNabb, chief operating officer for Volkswagen of America, said in a prepared statement. "As we enter the last quarter of the year, I’m confident we can maintain this pace as our product mix improves and we increase the availability of our 2014 model year vehicles."
But the government shutdown may have started to affect consumer confidence even before it actually happened.
Members of Congress failed to meet the deadline to fund the federal government early this morning, which means about 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed, and more than a million others will be asked to continue working without pay, according The New York Times.
McNabb said that over the weekend he visited some dealers who were already seeing declines in traffic in the Washington, D.C., area.
"We definitely saw lower traffic in those stores, but it's way to early to tell what the impact is," he said.
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