American Landmarks: Volkswagen Builds 100,000th Passat, Kia Sells Four Millionth Car in U.S.

Just nine months after the car went on sale, Volkswagen has built 100,000 copies of the new 2012 Passat at its factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At the same time, Kia announced that it had sold its four millionth car in the U.S.

The 100,000th Volkswagen Passat rolled off the line on May 31. The plant built its first customer-ready Passat in April 2011, and the 2012 Passat went on sale in September 2011. The 50,000th Passat was built at Chattanooga on February 7, 2012.

The milestone car was a TDI SEL Premium model wearing Night Blue Metallic paint and equipped with a DSG dual-clutch transmission. It was presented to its new owner, Georgia resident Joanne Benante, at a ceremony at the Chattanooga factory conference center.

Sales of the 2012 Volkswagen Passat have been brisk; through the first five months of 2012, the car has sold 44,813. Last month the car set a new record by recording 10,178 sales in the U.S. Volkswagen notes, however, that the announcement doesn't mean that 100,000 copies of the new Passat have been sold in the U.S.: that production total includes training vehicles, dealer demonstrator cars, and models exported to Mexico, Canada, South Korea, and the Middle East.

Kia, for its part, managed to sell its four millionth vehicle since launching the U.S. market in 1994. The announcement came on the back of continued record sales. Kia's sales here for the first five months of 2012 are up 18.7 percent. The company continues to see strong sales success for two models that are built on American soil: the Optima sedan and Sorento SUV, both of which are built in Georgia.

Kia claims that 78 percent of its vehicles sold last month are rated for more than 30 mpg on the highway. The company has increased its U.S. market share for 17 consecutive years, through 2011.

Sources: Volkswagen, Kia

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