VW Sales Fall Below 10 Million-Car Milestone in Diesel Scandal

AG Dealerships As Company Pledges To Finish Diesel Recalls By End Of 2016
Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg
  • Carmaker sees this year equally challenging, CEO says
  • Group's global vehicle deliveries fell 5.2 percent last month

Volkswagen AG’s sales dropped below the 10 million-car milestone reached last year as the Chinese market slowed and the company’s cheating on diesel emissions deterred customers.

Deliveries declined 2 percent to 9.93 million vehicles, including a 5.2 percent drop in December, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said Friday in a statement. This year will be no less challenging, the company said.

“We must handle the situation on world markets where trends remain mixed,” Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said in the statement, also citing tanking markets in Russia and South America. He renewed a promise to deliver a new strategy for the next decade, saying he aims to “systematically make the group fit for a successful future.”

Volkswagen is dealing with the fallout of revelations that it had cheated on pollution tests with its diesel cars. The company is still in talks with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about a possible fix and faces at least 6.7 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in recall costs, not including potential regulatory fines and damages from hundreds of lawsuits.

Sales of the namesake VW brand fell 4.8 percent to 5.8 million vehicles, their first decline in 11 years, including a 7.9 percent dip in December. VW brand deliveries dropped 9.1 percent to 30,956 autos that monthin the U.S., despite a record year of growth for other companies. Volkswagen’s emissions cheating emerged there in September.

“In 2016, we will continue to focus on winning back customers’ trust,” Juergen Stackmann, the VW nameplate’s sales chief, said in a statement.

The last time the VW marque’s deliveries fell was in 2004, when sales dipped to 3.06 million vehicles from 3.07 million the year before.

The shares were unchanged at 115 euros in Frankfurt. Volkswagen has lost almost 16 billion euros ($17.4 billion) in market value since its cheating became public.

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