In 2020, Volkswagen of America posted its best fourth quarter in the past six years in large part on the strength of its Chattanooga-made Atlas SUVs, the company reported Tuesday.
Still, overall sales for the VW brand were down 10% for the year as the company, along with other automakers, was hit by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
The company reported fourth quarter sales of 94,330, up 11% from a year ago. The Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs saw a 44% jump in sales in the quarter compared to a year ago to 31,445 vehicles, according to VW.
Sales of the Passat sedan, also built in Chattanooga, were 6,774 in the quarter, up from just 1,153 vehicles a year ago. But in the fourth quarter of 2019, VW had halted production on Passat while the company was ready to produce the newest version, officials said.
Overall, Volkswagen brand sales in 2020 in the U.S. were 325,784, down from 363,322, the company reported.
Overall new vehicle registrations in Hamilton County fell 3.6% in 2020 from 2019 to 12,613, according to the county clerk’s office.
Scott Keogh, Volkswagen of America’s chief executive, noted that the company’s Chattanooga and Puebla, Mexico, production plants were shut down for weeks early last year due to the coronavirus.
But the popularity of the Chattanooga-made product pushed the local plant to make 20,000 more vehicles in 2019 than 2018, he said during a conference call.
“The fourth quarter, it has been basically at