VW Australia has suffered its biggest fall in sales in the opening six months of 2016, as the fallout from the company’s highly publicised diesel emissions scandal continues.
May was particularly painful with a disastrous 17.2 percent drop in sales; the biggest single-month decline since the scandal broke.
The fiasco, dubbed ‘Dieselgate’ by the media, saw more than 11 million cars affected and VW Group Chairman, Martin Winterkorn, unceremoniously removed from the top job and replaced by Matthias Mueller. It’s also sparked legal action in numerous countries, as well as putting the spotlight on fuel consumption and emissions testing procedures both in Europe and North America.
While the scandal was instantly reflected in slumps in showroom sales elsewhere, such as the UK where a 9.8 percent fall in October 2015 came after 43 consecutive months of growth, Australian shoppers didn’t penalise the VW brand as the year finished. That’s changed for 2016.
Volkswagen sales for the first five months of this year have fallen, with 23,876 vehicles sold compared to 24,917 at the close of May 2015. That’s a drop of 4.2 percent, which is far worse than fellow VW Group brands Skoda (-0.8 percent), Audi (+8.3 percent), Porsche (+29.0 percent) and Lamborghini (+37.7 percent).
Only twelve months ago, VW Australia was basking in a 13.4 percent jump year-on-year. The 4.2-percent fall year-to-date is well behind the overall vehicle market’s progress, which is bubbling along nicely with a healthy 3.8 percent improvement on 2015. It also means that VW has fallen every month in 2016.
VW Australia, however, can take positives from the sales performance of its all-new Passat, which, as well as its commercial models – notably the Transporter and Amarok – are all seeing an improvement in sales so far this year.