Volkswagen's European sales and market share slipped in October, industry data showed 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.
The overall growth in the European market last month was mainly driven by German brands Daimler and BMW, rising 20.9 percent and 12.8 percent respectively, and by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is enjoying strong sales of its new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X cars.
FCA's overall sales rise 7.7 percent
French automakers PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault underperformed the market, with their sales dipping 1.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. All the major national markets recorded sales increases in October except for the UK, where registrations fell 1.1 percent. Among the five major markets, Italy recorded the biggest rise, of 8.6 percent, followed by Spain with 5.2 percent. In the first 10 months of this year registrations are up 8.2 percent at 11.93 million vehicles, ACEA added.