8. Volkswagen's Sales Surge
Volkswagen’s plan for the U.S. market was highly criticized when it was first announced. The idea was to give up on trying to sell Americans overpriced and small European cars and instead sell them larger and less expensive cars. The plan could be described as transforming VW into a German Toyota (reliability aside), and by all accounts it was been a tremendous success. Year-to-date sales are up 25.3 percent, led by the now affordably-priced Jetta which has seen an almost unbelievable rise in sales from 86,925 units in 2010 to 138,092 – representing a 58.9 percent hike. Also helping out is the new Passat, competing in the all-important mid-size sedan category, with year-do-date sales totaling 15,895 compared to 9,989 in 2010, representing a 59.1 percent increase. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story at all, however, with the new Passat having only been on sale since early October. As a result, Passat sales in just its first two months exceeded all of last year. Add to that the highly-coveted title of Motor Trend “Car of the Year”, and VW is poised to continue a rapid sales growth in 2012.