German Godzilla: Volkswagen Auto Group Sales Up 9.3% in 2006

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This image was lost some time after publication.

First, the news. VAG sold 5.73 million vehicles last year, solidifying its position as the world's number four automaker. Second, a bit of analysis. A guy named Erich Merkle is claiming that VeeDub's sales were temporarily boosted this year because of new model drops like the Jetta and Passat. He says, "I don't know if it is really sustainable." Jalopnik says, "The Jetta is unbuttered white toast on wheels, but that R36 Passat is indeed the hotness." Most remarkable though, once puny Audi managed to sell 950,000 vehicles last year, which is a truly staggering number for (yet another) German luxury make. That is until you realize that a lot of those sales were crap 1.9L diesel 3-door A3s, which are nothing more than Golfs. We mean Rabbits. We mean Porsche's scheme to spin Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti off into their own uber-luxo group isn't such an indefensible, PAG-like idea. We mean congratulations guys! Way to be precise and cast a wide-ass net.

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Volkswagen 2006 sales hit record 5.73 million [Automotive News Europe]

Related:
BREAKING: The World is Not Even Kinda Sorta Enough: Porsche Contemplates Buying Primo VAG; More: It's a Major Award! Automobile Names GTI Automobile of the Year [Internal]

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DISCUSSION

my-favorite-car-is-a-motorcyc-old
my favorite car is a motorcycle

North America doesn't get most of the VW Group's best vehicles, nor their low-end economy vehicles. Comparing the budget European city car to a US-spec commuter car to a Nurburgring-tuned European-spec road car is pointless. The fact that VW/Audi can use similar base chassis to create three very different vehicles should be seen as an accomplishment, not with the disdain shallow-sighted people like avanti5010 show. If only US and Asian automakers could offer such variety of vehicles in a similar package size.

The US Audi A3 does not equal the US VW Golf/Rabbit/GTI. It probably shares more in common with the Audi A4 than it does the Golf due to material upgrades. Look at more than the body dimensions and grille shape, people!

A3 versus Golf/Rabbit/GTI:

- Different suspension tuning

- Different interior

- Different sheetmetal

- Different engine choices

- Haldex AWD not currently offered on Golfs

- no 3-door A3 in North America

- no S3 in North America (!@#$%^%&^&*!!!)

I urge those who have not driven the current generation GTI or A3 to test them for yourselves — they are phenomenal cars that completely surprised me. Formerly having dismissed VW/Audi as boring cars whose performance and quality did not justify the price, I am now eagerly awaiting the introduction of the new R32 or — better still — the S3. If it's a VW/Audi made in Germany, chances are it's different and better than you imagined it to be. If it's a budget VW or Audi made in Mexico or Brazil for entry-level markets, what do you expect?