VW's European car sales, market share slip after emissions scandal

Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:18am EST
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By Agnieszka Flak

MILAN (Reuters) - Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) European sales and market share slipped in October, industry data showed on Tuesday, as the German carmaker's emissions-cheating scandal began to take its toll at a time when the overall market continued to grow.

New passenger car registrations in the European Union and European Free Trade Association trading block rose 2.7 percent last month on a year ago to 1.14 million vehicles, according to the Brussels-based Association of European Carmakers (ACEA).

The increase marked the 26th consecutive month of growth in the region but at a slower rate than in the preceding months, although last month's figures were for one fewer selling day than in October 2014.

Nevertheless sales for the Volkswagen Group, Europe's biggest carmaker, dropped 0.8 percent last month, while its European market share slipped to 25.2 percent, down from 26.1 percent in the same month last year.

VW's mass market brands suffered falls in sales last month, with Seat sales down 11.2 percent, Skoda's down 2.9 percent and the carmaker's namesake brand down 0.4 percent.

However, premium brands Audi and Porsche still recorded healthy growth, with sales rising 3.5 percent and 13.3 percent respectively.

Because car deliveries typically occur several weeks after purchase decisions, the full repercussions of the scandal, which started with VW's admission on Sept 18 that diesel-engine emission tests had been rigged, are expected to become more apparent in November registration figures.

However, VW's drop in sales in October compares with a rise of 8.3 percent the previous month.   Continued...

A VW sign is seen outside a Volkswagen dealership in London, Britain November 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett