VW Brand Nov. Sales Plunge 25% Amid Diesel Scandal Fallout

Dealers Are Battling Tight Inventories

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Volkswagen Credit: Volkswagen

Volkswagen of America's sales plummeted in November amid tight dealer inventories and a continued sales freeze of diesel-powered cars prompted by its emissions violations.

VW said today its sales dropped 25% to 23,882 vehicles, its second-lowest monthly total of 2015 behind January. It was the steepest monthly decline for the VW brand since September 2008.

The November decline reflects a 2,381-unit reduction in sales of non-diesel models in addition to shortfalls caused by the TDI sales freeze, which last month grew to include Touareg SUVs powered by the 3.0-liter V-6 diesel in addition to the 2.0-liter models that were grounded in September.

VW, in a statement, blamed the declines on the stop-sales orders. "Volkswagen is working tirelessly on an approved remedy for the affected TDI vehicles," VW of America COO Mark McNabb said in the statement. "During this time we would like to thank our dealers and customers for their continued patience and loyalty."

Diesels accounted for 5,462 of the 31,725 VW vehicles sold in November 2014, according to VW of America. After adjusting for the loss of diesels, deliveries of all other VW models models fell by 2,381 units from November 2014, or 9%. VW's highest-volume nameplates were among the hardest hit, with Jetta compact sedan sales falling 23% and Passat midsize sedan deliveries dropping 60%.

The brand's roughly 650 U.S. dealers also had to battle tight inventories last month. Dealer stocks at the beginning of November were at their lowest levels of their previous 12 months, according to data from TrueCar.com. There were a few bright spots: Tiguan compact crossover sales surged 88% to 3,907 units while strong deliveries of the electric e-Golf and GTI hot hatch kept the Golf family afloat, posting a 3% gain.

Through 11 months, the VW brand's U.S. sales were down 4% to 318,484 vehicles.

Ryan Beene is a reporter for Automotive News.

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