November 5, 2015 / 11:00 AM / 2 years ago

Early signs of VW impact in slowing European car sales growth

PARIS (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) emissions cheating scandal began to hit vehicle sales in October, a leading automotive consultancy said on Friday, with the German group losing ground in Western Europe, where overall market growth slowed to 2.7 percent.

Cars are seen at the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

Registrations rose to 1.06 million cars last month from 1.03 million the previous October, based on published national data and smaller market estimates compiled by LMC Automotive.

VW Group sales were down 2.7 percent in the five biggest markets - Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain - while industry registrations in those markets expanded 2 percent, according to the leading automotive consulting firm.

“There is clearly a sign of some impact there,” LMC analyst Emiliano Lewis said.

Because car deliveries typically occur several weeks after purchase decisions, however, the full sales repercussions of VW’s Sept. 18 admission of diesel test-rigging will become more apparent in November registrations.

The October numbers equated to a seasonally adjusted selling rate of 13.05 million cars per year, LMC said, a 2 percent decline from September’s 13.31 million rate - but still almost 1 million cars above the 2014 total.

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Mark Potter

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