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Volkswagen Takes U.S. Market Share from Detroit & Japanese
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest automaker, clawed U.S. market share away from Toyota Motor Corp. and Chrysler LLC as new models and the resilient Jetta helped stem a sales decline in the recession-scarred auto industry.

Volkswagen, helped by the Wolfsburg, Germany-based carmaker’s luxury Audi brand, increased its share of U.S. car sales to 2.8 percent in December from 2.1 percent a year earlier. Audi’s 9.3 percent dip and the VW brand’s 14 percent drop came in a month in which the world’s largest auto market crumbled 36 percent to a 16-year low as shaky consumer confidence and tight credit sapped demand.

“Volkswagen got their act together and are really pushing hard in the U.S.,” said Paul Newton, a London-based analyst with research firm IHS Global Insight. “They’re putting money into marketing, into dealers and into a new plant.”

Volkswagen is building a $1 billion factory in Tennessee, its first in the U.S. since 1988, in a bid to end five years of losses in the country and triple sales to 1 million by 2018. VW brand sales slipped 3.2 percent for the year, compared with a marketwide drop of 18 percent. General Motors Corp.’s U.S. total was the smallest since 1959 and Ford Motor Co.’s was the worst in 47 years. VW’s market-share gain came as GM and Chrysler won a government bailout in order to stay in business. Bloomberg

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