Has VW Hit a Roadblock?

U.S. sales of VW's Tiguan SUV, which competes with the Ford Escape and Honda's CR-V, were down over 20% last month. Photo credit: VW.

It's a story that many Americans have missed, but German auto giant Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY  ) has been on a massive global growth push in recent years. VW executives have made no secret of their goal: To surpass General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) and Toyota  (NYSE: TM  ) and become the world's largest-selling automaker by 2018.

The growth of VW's Audi brand has helped the company gain huge profits, and VW's success in China has greatly boosted its global sales totals. But lately, the VW brand itself has been struggling: Global sales were actually down last month, even as nearly all of VW's key competitors posted increases.

What's the deal? In this video, Fool contributor John Rosevear dives into the latest numbers from Volkswagen -- and looks at some surprising declines that may spell trouble for the VW's world domination plans.

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  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 9:26 AM, MC0922 wrote:

    Your targeting of the Tiguan as being a weak point in the VW line is very astute. As a US owner of a 2010 VW Sportwagen (Diesel), I am in the market for a new VW but have been on-hold for some time due to the lack of an available diesel option for the Tiguan. The problem with the Tiguan in the current form is there's just no compelling reason to pay more for it when the gas mileage is relatively poor. If I were to buy one I would be going from 37MPG to 20MPG overnight. While I am entirely willing to go to 30MPG to gain all wheel drive, 20MPG is just a deal-breaker. VW certainly blundered the compact SUV plan in the US when they failed to have the Diesel Tiguan option ready. Compact AWD SUV is critical in the US market. Touareg and Audi Q5 are nice but middle class America doesn't pay 45 grand for an SUV. Provide an AWD Tiguan diesel that gets 30MPG and the world is yours. And do it quickly because you're losing it... I'm looking at other options.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 2:50 PM, jcphenry wrote:

    The Tiguan has a problem in that it is too small for a true family vehicle and doesn't offer a TDI option for those not put off by the size but who look to the VW brand for reasonably priced diesel cars. The BMW X1 and Audi Q3 and new Mercedes small SUV cost more but also offer better engine choices and by brand, better resale.

    The Touareg is bedeviled by a poor reliability reputation which, for its price point especially, is unacceptable. It competes with the Mercedes ML series and the BMW X5 in size and engine displacement/fuel choices. While the luxury makes cost slightly more, they also have better reliability and better resale.

    VWs strength is in its reputation for good design and high quality and the availability of diesel power. The Touareg and the Tiguan miss on one or the other.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 6:10 PM, larryhat wrote:

    I believe VW concentrates to much on user-friendly tv commercials, but not so much on their cars. They remain stingy on perks like bluetooth, navigation, and backup camera's. Not to mention, unless you buy a TDI model, much of their line are gas hogs. And speaking of the TDI, if I have to pay 30/40 cents more per gallon for diesel, I'm not sure that I am realizing the true savings on fuel. I believe the Jetta Hybrid is their first step in the right direction for quite some time.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 9:19 PM, AlaskaErik wrote:

    VW has no technology. No blind side warning, no rear cross traffic alert, no adaptive cruise control, no collision mitigation, no lane departure warning and they're just now getting back up cameras. They're selling 20th century cars at 21st century prices.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 10:20 PM, ramonesnut wrote:

    I believe the biggest roadblock will be the declining quality of VW ( and even more so Audi). I love the way vw's drive but the fact is the quality has been on a decline for some time. So you pay more for a vehicle that gets bad MPG and lower quality in comparison to their u.s. and even Asian counterparts. Now the exception to this rule is the tdi's.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2013, at 8:26 AM, Tonenine wrote:

    Alaskaeric, VW now owns Porsche, no need for you to fret about world calls technology right in their portfolio

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