LONDON — Sales of new Volkswagen cars collapsed in Britain by nearly a fifth last month as the German carmaker was plagued by fallout from the pollution-cheating scandal, according to industry data released Friday.
There were 12,958 new registrations of Volkswagen branded vehicles in November, down almost 20% from the same month in 2014, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement. Sales of other key Volkswagen brands also fell sharply, with Audi down 4.4%, SEAT slumping 23.8% and Skoda losing 11% in November year-on-year.
But sales of expensive brand Bentley surged by 20.6% on lower volumes, while Porsche fell by just 0.8%, according to SMMT data.
As has been detailed here and elsewhere in the media so many times the last three months, VW remains embroiled in a massive pollution-cheating scandal after it was forced to admit that it had installed software in 11 million diesel engines worldwide designed to skew the results of emission tests.
The scandal sent shock waves around the global automobile sector and has plunged VW into its deepest ever crisis.
On Wednesday however, official data showed that the number of new VW cars registered in Germany declined by just 2.0% in November. In addition, Volkswagen remained the biggest-selling brand in its home country.
Overall, despite the VW scandal, sales of new cars in Britain rose 3.8% last month, the SMMT added on Friday. That marked a modest rebound from a 1.1% drop in October — which was the first fall in 3.5 years.
“November’s figures come as a reminder of the strength of the U.K. car market, as low interest rates and competitive finance deals continue to attract consumers to new car ownership,” SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said. “We have been expecting a leveling off in demand for some time now — a development that is being realized following an unprecedented three-and-a-half years of non-stop growth.”
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015