The new midsize sedan, known internally as the "NMS," destined for production next year atof America Inc.'s assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN, is poised to be the lynchpin of the brand's U.S.-market revitalization.
The NMS, Jetta and Beetle C-segment cars are expected to account for 60%-70% of the brand's U.S. volume, according to a "ballpark" estimate from new VWoA CEO Jonathan Browning.
Through August, nearly 44% of VW-brand deliveries stemmed from the Jetta, Ward's data shows.
But growth will come from the new faces the NMS brings into VW dealerships. "With (the) Jetta, that's a customer group that's pretty well-known to our dealer base," Browning says.
Conquest sales are expected to account for a "substantial majority" of NMS deliveries, he says, adding he plans to work with dealers to prepare for the hoped-for onslaught.
After ensuring a smooth launch of the redesigned-for-'11 Jetta, strengthening relationships with VW's nearly 600 dealers is Browning's top priority.