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(Uli_Sonntag/Abdruck fuer Pressezwecke honora)
(Uli_Sonntag/Abdruck fuer Pressezwecke honora)

Driving It Home

Why is the Jetta flying off dealer lots? Price matters Add to ...

Pricing matters. It really matters. If you ever, ever, ever doubted it, let me point to the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta compact car.

Jetta sales surged 41 per cent last month to a whopping 3,001. We can now say VW Canada is the Jetta company, with a few other models thrown in to fill out the lineup.

Consider: the Jetta accounted for more than half of all the 5,884 new cars and light trucks VW Canada moved last month, when sales overall for the German company jumped 16 per cent. Take those spectacular Jetta numbers out of the equation and VW Canada is selling cars in Subaru numbers.

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So, Thomas Tetzlaff of VW Canada, why is the Jetta flying off dealer lots?

“For the 2013 model year, the Jetta is now priced below $15,000 (a reduction of almost $900 from the 2012). This, coupled with outstanding resale value, has made the ‘numbers’ on the Jetta very attractive to the consumer. Lease and finance payments are typically at or near the low-end of the competitive segment,” says Tetzlaff.

VW has also made some small improvements to the Jetta. For instance, the car now has disc brakes all around, versus the rear drums that were standard on the base 2011 car when it arrived.

VW Canada’s sales also got a nice little jolt from the re-priced Tiguan small SUV – 561 sold in all. The appeal, again, is on the window sticker. VW dropped the base price by nearly $3,000 and now you can buy a Tiguan for less than $25,000 plus fees and taxes.

VW Canada has now enjoyed 15 straight months of sales increases. No small feat that. Plenty of high-profile car companies have been struggling this year, but not VW.

As DesRosiers Automotive Consultants reports, Toyota brand sales were down 6.2 per cent last month, the Honda brand was off 0.6 per cent, Nissan was down 12.9 per cent, Kia was down 11.3 per cent and Hyundai slumped 4.7 per cent. Total overall sales in Canada were off 0.7 per cent. Most of us have grown accustomed to seeing sales just keep rising at all of those brands. But not now.

On the other hand, Chrysler’s 7.0 per cent gain in March lifted the company’s market share to 16.3 per cent (from 15.3 per cent at this point in 2012). And while Ford’s sales were up a modest 1.7 per cent, the company’s share of a down market is up to 16.2 per cent from 15.2 per cent last year.

Other big winners from March:

  • Acura sales were up 91.6 per cent;
  • Jaguar was up 82.5 per cent;
  • Audi was up 3.2 per cent;
  • BMW/MINI was up 8.9 per cent;
  • Mercedes-Benz/smart was up 12.3 per cent;
  • Porsche up 33.5 per cent

The story was not so good at General Motors. The sales slide at GM continues, notes DesRosiers. GM’s sales slid 10.9 per cent in March and now GM Canada’s market share is down to 13.5 per cent in Canada. GM’s story is puzzling. The General is offering some very strong models, yet the company continues to shed market share.

How long can this slide persist? What can GM do to arrest the slump and turn around sales? The VW story has at least part of the answer.


Send your automotive questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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