Even if the emissions scandal had little impact on the European car market, recent data showed sales of Volkswagen-branded cars last month plunged 20 percent year-on-year in Britain.
The sales impact of Volkswagen’s cheating scandal is not so far of a major concern on the European car market, Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said last week. “So far there is nothing obvious in the statistics coming from the market,” Ghosn, who is also president of the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA), declared during a news conference. “For the real impact you are going to have to wait some months, probably starting in January, February, if there is any,” he added. But consequences of VW’s September disclosures (that it cheated US diesel emissions tests for toxic nitrogen oxide) and in November (that it also understated carbon dioxide emissions) are beginning to show in some of the recent company’s sales reports. For example, VW reported its US sales dropped by 25 percent to 23,882 cars in November, last month being the second-lowest one this year. It also was the sharpest monthly decline for the German automaker since the start of the Great Recession.
And now, data on Friday showed sales of VW-branded cars last month plunged 20 percent year-on-year in Britain, Europe’s second-biggest car market behind Germany, mirroring a steep decline in the United States. Sales of the German group’s Audi models fell a more modest 4 percent, while those of its Seat and Skoda brands were down 24 percent and 11 percent respectively. Analysts have said VW’s emissions scandal is likely to accelerate a shift away from diesel vehicles that was already underway, and boost demand for smaller gasoline engines and hybrids. The latest ACEA data showed European sales of VW group models down 0.8 percent in October, but overall car sales in the region up 2.7 percent.