Over the past 11 months, Volkswagen's showroom sales slumped 4.5 % and the German car manufacturer's management fear the worst may yet have to come as it is way too soon to attribute this sales slump to the environmental scandal that broke several months ago.
Sales dropped 25 % in the United States
From January to November 2015, Volkswagen sold 5,335,700 cars, which is a 4.5 % slump compared to the same period last year. November's sales dropped 2.4 % worldwide to 496,100 cars, but it would not be right to attribute that drop entirely on the environmental scandal: there are often weeks, if not months, between a customer's order and the actual car delivery. It remains to be seen what the scandal's impact will be and that is something the Wolfsburg-based company realizes all too well.
Remarkable fact is that sales in Europe and China, the brand's two most important markets, went up. Chinese sales even grew 8.6 % compared to the year before.
Sales elsewhere slumped: Brazilian sales halved, Russian sales plummeted 31.8 % and American sales (where it no longer sells diesel-based VW's) dropped almost 25 % (24.7 % to be exact).
Scandal less extensive than feared
There was also slightly positive news from Volkswagen earlier this week: the environmental scandal includes fewer cars than previously estimated. Instead of 800,000 cars, apparently "only" 36,000 cars are involved as "internal measurements have shown that only 9 models show deviations".
"It is clear that the actual carbon emissions for almost every car model is identical to what is displayed on car's technical card. Suspicions about illegal manipulation about the exhaust are therefore not yet confirmed."
Volkswagen not only has to deal with the carbon emission scandal, but also with the more elaborate cheating software scandal. It circumvented diesel engine environmental tests with some 11 million cars worldwide, a move new Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller has now described as "deliberate". The reason was that the manufacturer did not "have the technique nor the money nor the time" to get its EA 189 diesel engines in line with the strict American carbon emission legislation. During a press conference last Thursday, Volkswagen stated it has suspended 9 employees for their part in the cheating software scandal.