Volkswagen Brand’s U.S. Sales Fall for Seventh Straight Month

Where to Find Profit at Volkswagen
  • Namesake line’s 17 percent drop in May not as bad as estimated
  • Deliveries continue to slide after emissions-rigging scandal

Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand said its May U.S. sales fell 17 percent, the seventh consecutive monthly decline as the German automaker struggles to recover from the September admission that it cheated on diesel-emissions tests.

Deliveries dropped to 28,779, Volkswagen said in a statement Wednesday. On average, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predicted a 21 percent slide. The Jetta line, the brand’s best-selling models, tumbled 15 percent while the Passat fell 13 percent.

Volkswagen pulled its diesel-powered vehicles from dealerships after U.S. regulators found that the company manipulated engines to understate emissions. May’s decline widened from the previous month and was the steepest since November. Analysts projected lower May sales for all major automakers because of two fewer sales days than in the year-earlier month.

Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter told analysts on a conference call Tuesday that the company is making a priority of a “deep” revamp of the Volkswagen brand. His comment followed an 86 percent profit decline for the brand in the first quarter.

The brand must negotiate a settlement with U.S. authorities by the end of this month, and investigations into the cheating are continuing. Volkswagen plans to announce a new strategy in mid-June to help recover from the scandal.

Volkswagen’s American depositary receipts fell 1.5 percent to $30.42 at 10:47 a.m. New York time. They were down 15 percent from Sept. 18, when the emissions cheating was revealed, through Tuesday.

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