- Diesel scandal contributes to share of sales dropping to 24.8%
- Industry's 14.2 million car registrations mark six-year high
Volkswagen AG’s market share in Europe fell for the first time since 2007 as the German carmaker’s emissions-rigging scandal deterred buyers in the final months of last year.
Volkswagen accounted for 24.8 percent of new cars sold in the region in 2015 compared with 25.5 percent in 2014, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said Friday. Industrywide registrations jumped 9.2 percent to a six-year high of 14.2 million vehicles, outpacing the German group’s 6.2 percent gain.
The carmaker, Europe’s biggest, has lost ground to competitors including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and luxury manufacturers BMW AG and Daimler AG since the diesel-emissions test cheating came to light in September. Volkswagen’s plan to either reprogram vehicles’ software or install a component to meet standards won European Union clearance in December. Regulators in the U.S., where the issue first emerged and where the EU approval doesn’t apply, rejected proposed recall terms this week.
“Volkswagen customers are so far taking a wait-and-see attitude” as the carmaker works to resolve the emissions scandal, said Carlos da Silva, a Paris-based analyst at forecaster IHS Automotive.
The shares fell 0.5 percent to 115.40 euros at 9:12 a.m. in Frankfurt. Volkswagen has lost nearly 16 billion euros ($17.4 billion) in market value since the scandal broke.
European sales last year at the namesake VW brand rose 6.5 percent, while the company’s premium Audi division, which slipped to third in global luxury-car deliveries behind BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz marque, posted a 5.7 percent increase in the region.
Volkswagen group sales in December gained 4.4 percent from a year earlier, lagging behind the European market, which expanded 16 percent to 1.16 million vehicles. The biggest manufacturers posting the steepest growth last month included Renault SA, with a 28 percent surge, Ford Motor Co. with a 24 percent jump and PSA Peugeot Citroen with a 21 percent increase.
Of the top 10 car sellers in Europe, Daimler’s registrations rose the most in 2015, with an 18 percent jump propelled by a 72 percent surge at the Smart city-car brand and a 13 percent gain at Mercedes. Groupwide demand increased 16 percent at Nissan Motor Co., 12 percent at BMW and 14 percent at Fiat Chrysler, whose Jeep brand more than doubled sales. The ACEA compiles statistics from the EU’s 28 countries, excluding Malta, plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.