Good evening everyone, and I would like to wish you a happy and prosperous 2018. Thank you for joining us here at this great, cool venue in Detroit for the global debut of the all-new Jetta. This is a vital car for us because it is our best seller in the United States.
Before Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand, comes onto stage to make this important product announcement, I would like to give you an update about the state of the business in America.
Last year, we set out on a journey to expand our presence in America. Volkswagen has always been known for its small cars, and we knew that in order to grow, we needed to reach the heart of the American market and offer a fresh line up of SUVs and family-oriented models.
To achieve that goal, in 2017 we launched the Atlas midsize SUV and the all-new, long-wheelbase Tiguan compact SUV, which we showed exactly one year ago, here in the Garden Theater.
Built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Atlas is aimed right at the heart of the SUV market, with the size, comfort and features that Americans expect. Even the name was chosen specifically for America. With a competitive price and the best bumper-to-bumper limited warranty in America, sales of the Atlas are continuing to build.
Also, the all-new Tiguan has been specifically designed for the North American market, on a longer wheelbase than its European counterpart. As a result, it offers one of the largest interiors in the compact SUV segment, with available third-row seating, as well as innovative new technology.
We said that 2017 would represent the beginning of a comeback for Volkswagen in the United States, and our end-of-year results back that up.
We're really starting to see the efforts of our work reflected in our sales. In 2017, the industry as a whole was down 1.8 percent, but we ended the year with an increase of 5.2 percent over 2016.
We want to gain market share and grow from a niche player, to a truly relevant brand in the United States. Last year, we took some big steps to reach that goal.
In addition to bringing great new products, we addressed the biggest decision factors of buyers in the volume segment — reliability and cost of ownership.
We launched the People First Warranty, America's best car and SUV bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. It provides 6 years or 72,000 miles of transferable coverage. This demonstrates a real confidence in the quality, reliability and workmanship in our new vehicles.
To make that crystal clear, again, we are going to be there for our customers, long after they drive their vehicles off the lot.
With the right cars and SUVs, the right price and this outstanding warranty, I am confident our recent sales momentum will be carried over into 2018.
Times are changing for Volkswagen in America and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this shift. With the North American Region, we are responsible for all business units including development, engineering, purchasing, production, and sales and marketing across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
With this, we have brought decision-making and leadership closer to our dealers and customers. Part of that change means that we will consistently bring fresh products to the market, here in the United States.
As a proof point for this new cadence, we will bring two new cars to the market in 2018. Tonight, we will show you the all-new 2019 Jetta. And in the second part of the year, we will introduce the Arteon, our stylish brand shaper.
I am so excited about what we are about to show to you!
Hinrich J. Woebcken North American International Auto Show Detroit, January 14th / 2018
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