What a difference a year makes.

Last holiday season, Volkswagen was languishing under the cloud of a diesel-emissions scandal. But after paying billions of dollars earlier this year to settle US consumers’ legal claims over the vehicles earlier this year, the automaker reported that December US auto sales increased 20.3 per cent from a year earlier.

In total, Volkswagen said it sold 37,229 units in December 2016. Despite the brightening holiday season, however, the company said that total 2016 sales were 322,948, a 7.6 per cent drop from the year before. Volkswagen said its Tiguan compact SUV sales and Golf GTI cars had their best years ever, offsetting declining sales for its top-selling Jetta line.

It is the latest in a string of better-than-expected US auto sales data from December. Ford and General Motors earlier reported an increase in year-over-year sales last month. Toyota also reported a 2 per cent increase in US auto sales last month.

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