VW Extends European Market Share Losses After Diesel Scandalby
Carmaker’s August sales rose 6.3% versus market’s 9.5% gain
Industrywide auto sales growth resumed after 1.8% July dip
Volkswagen accounted for 26 percent of the region’s car sales in August, compared with 26.8 percent a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said in a statement Thursday. Industrywide European registrations in August climbed 9.5 percent to 855,466 vehicles, outperforming the German company’s 6.3 percent increase.
The European car market’s gains in August extend a recovery that began after sales hit a two-decade low in 2013 following the global financial crisis. The upswing is expected to lose steam as the region’s economic outlook dims in the wake of the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union. An index measuring consumer sentiment in the EU’s 28 countries fell in August to 103.8 from 104.7 a month earlier, according to the European Commission.
While VW fights to regain buyers’ trust, carmakers including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Toyota Motor Corp. and Daimler AG, took advantage of rising demand to each post gains of at least 17 percent in August, traditionally a weak month for auto sales due to summer vacations.
Volkswagen shares were unchanged at 122.70 euros at 10:02 a.m. in Frankfurt. The stock has lost about 25 percent in the past year, valuing the company at 63.7 billion euros ($71.5 billion).
Through the first eight months of 2016, industrywide registrations gained 7.8 percent to 10.1 million autos. Volkswagen’s market share in the period narrowed to 24.1 percent, the lowest level since 2011 and down from 25.3 percent a year ago. The company’s sales have lagged a year after the emissions scandal first broke amid a stream of negative news, including pressure from the European Union and consumer groups that VW compensate the roughly 8.5 million owners of rigged diesel cars in the region.
August’s industrywide increase resumes monthly gains after a 1.8 percent decline in sales in July, the first dip after nearly three years of consecutive increases. August numbers were bolstered in part by an extra selling day in most markets compared with a year ago. The ACEA compiles numbers from the European Union’s 28 member countries, excluding Malta, plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
In Germany, Europe’s biggest market, August registrations rose 8.3 percent as the country had two additional shopping days compared to a year earlier. In the U.K., the continent’s second-largest, sales were 3.3 percent higher ahead of September’s plate change, which will serve as bigger test of demand in the country after the Brexit vote.