Volkswagen sales dip after ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal

The Volswagen decline was at odds with strong UK sales.

The Volswagen decline was at odds with strong UK sales. - Credit: supplied

Volkswagen car sales fell by almost 20% last month in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, official figures show.

There were 12,958 VW registrations last month, compared to 16,196 in November 2014, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

This 19.99% decrease comes after VW admitted in September it fitted software to cheat emissions tests for nitrogen oxides in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, including almost 1.2 million in the UK.

Sales of other VW brands are also down – SEAT by 23.83%, Skoda by 10.98% and Audi by 4.41%.

The SMMT said the car industry as a whole saw registrations rise by 3.8%, leading motoring experts to conclude that the emissions crisis is hitting VW sales.

The German car-maker has set aside £4.8bn to deal with the controversy, and chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned.

The manufacturer accepts the defeat device software was used to rig pollution tests in the US.

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The scandal deepened further when VW revealed it had found 'irregularities' in CO2 emissions which may affect 800,000 vehicles. But, after extensive investigations and checks, almost all of these models do correspond to the original CO2 figures. Slight deviations were found on just nine model variants of the VW brand and these will be measured again by a neutral technical service under the supervision of the appropriate authority by Christmas.

The Group's subsidiaries Audi, Skoda and SEAT have also agreed a similar procedure.

Jim Holder, editorial director of magazines Autocar and What Car?, said he believed VW's sales figures were a direct result of the diesel crisis.

'There's a lot of evidence they have lost the trust of the buyers and that is starting to come through.'

Overall new UK car sales returned to growth last month following October's decline – the first since 2012. Some 178,876 cars were registered in November, up by 3.8% from 172,327 in the same month last year. Year-to-date sales are up by 6.2%, from 2,310,237 to 2,453,426.