Drivers are starting to understand that diesel technology rivals hybrid platforms for fuel efficiency and offers greater performance and torque—and the numbers are starting to show. Volkswagen of America Inc. announced in December that its line of clean diesel TDI models sold 41, 278 models—approximately 20 percent of the company’s overall sales volume for the year. December sales totaled 4,378 units.
‘There’s never going to be a Prius motor sport cup,’ said Sean Maynard, spokesman for Volkswagen of America. ‘The TDI is fun to drive—its torquey, and people are becoming more aware that they don’t have to sacrifice performance for the sake of fuel economy.’
Several government tax credits helped sales, Volkswagen of America told Biodiesel Magazine. The TDI clean diesel line qualifies for the environmental tax credit, and combined with the sales tax exemption for new vehicles, purchasers are able to knock off more than $1500 from the price tag.
‘December’s performance was encouraging, as was the six consecutive months of sales growth that we have experienced,’ said Mark Barnes, CEO of Volkswagen of America. ‘During those six months, Volkswagen sales increased 8.2 percent over the same period of last year. 2009 proved to be another extremely challenging year for the automotive industry. We are encouraged by the fact that we were able to continue to grow our market share throughout 2009 despite the extremely challenging market conditions.’