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January 16, 2018

DETROIT – VW claims US comeback well in hand

Volkswagen has made "significant" progress towards the comeback of the VW brand in the US after the diesel emissions scandal, a top executive said at the Detroit show.

Volkswagen has made "significant" progress towards the comeback of the VW brand in the US after the diesel emissions scandal, a top executive said at the Detroit show.

Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen North America said: "We made significant progress towards the comeback of the Volkswagen brand in the US in 2017.

"The Atlas, our new mid-size SUV, is attracting significant interest among customers. While the market declined in general, we were able to increase our sales and gain market share."

He added VW also "made considerable progress in dealing with the diesel issue".

Over 80% of the 540,000 vehicles affected in the US had already been retrofitted or bought back.

Meanwhile, the brand continues to vigorously pursue its regional consolidation strategy in North America and launched the seventh generation Jetta – the top selling model in the US – at the show.

"Together with Golf, Passat and Beetle, the Jetta is one of our most popular models – and Number One in the US We have re-engineered it 100%, taking it to a new level. And it is one of the keys to our future success in the United States. By 2020, we will offer at least two new US models annually, covering key segments," said VW brand CEO Herbert Diess.

VW sold 592,000 units in North America last year, up 1.9% on the 580,600 deliveries.

It is now "going on the offensive in the region with new models tailored to the American market" with the aim of becoming "a key volume supplier in North America".

With this in mind, the company will invest more than 3.3 billion US dollars (2.8 billion euros) overall in North America over the next three years. Some 1.2 billion US dollars (1 billion euros) of this will go toward projects in the U.S. The aim is for the Volkswagen brand to achieve a break-even in terms of operating profits in North America by 2020.

The new Jetta is a key element of Volkswagen's brand campaign in North America. In addition to the Chattanooga-built Atlas, the new long wheelbase Tiguan and refreshed, longer range e-Golf were also launched. The plan is to launch at least two new models each year in the US.

The Arteon (CC replacement) will follow the Jetta in America this year with the new Passat to follow in 2019. Additional SUV models, based on the MQB architecture, are also coming.

The first of a new family of full battery electric vehicles will be added from 2020 and will be based on the newly developed modular electric drive matrix (MEB). The first MEB model to go on sale in America will be an SUV.

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