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VW's Sales Plunge 25% in November

Dec. 1, 2015
By contrast, Ford, GM, FCA and Toyota all showed year-over-year increases in November sales.

CHICAGO—Volkswagen's U.S. sales plunged 25% in November after it suspended sales of diesel vehicles in the wake of an emissions cheating scandal, the embattled German automaker said Tuesday.

VW froze sales of diesel car models in the United States on November 4 after new accusations on the use of software that cheats on emissions tests.

The suspension affects about 20% of its typical sales but appears to have also impacted non-diesel models. 

Total sales fell by nearly 8,000 vehicles from a year ago to 23,882 units in November. By contrast, Toyota showed a 3.4% increase in November from last year. GM was up 1.5%, Ford 4% and Fiat-Chrysler 3%. Honda was down 5%, with its pickups and SUVs lagging behind other automakers.

Volkswagen sold 5,462 TDI diesel vehicles in November 2014.

"Volkswagen was lucky to hold its own in the months immediately following the revelation of the emissions problems, but its luck on sales ran out in November," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader.  

"Volkswagen will take a long time to dig out from under this, but the very first step needs to be a clear and comprehensive plan for fixing it, and that does not appear to be forthcoming soon."

VW's US sales for the year-to-date were down 4% at 318,484.

Volkswagen has been engulfed in scandal since September, when it admitted more than 11 million vehicles worldwide equipped with smaller 2.0-liter diesel engines had "defeat" software designed to cheat on emissions tests.

US officials say similar software is on the company's larger 3.0 liter diesel engines, used in Volkswagens, Audis and Porsche SUVs.

The world's number-two automaker faces regulatory and criminal investigations in several countries, including Germany and the United States, and potentially billions of dollars in fines.

"Volkswagen is working tirelessly on an approved remedy for the affected TDI vehicles," Mark McNabb, chief operating officer, Volkswagen of America, said in a statement.

"During this time we would like to thank our dealers and customers for their continued patience and loyalty."

The so-called "defeat devices" turn on emissions controls when the vehicle is undergoing a government emissions test, then turn them off under normal operations, allowing illegal amounts of nitrogen oxide to spew into the air.

The scandal has widened, with the German automaker subsequently revealing that it had understated carbon dioxide emissions, including those for gasoline engines, for up to 800,000 vehicles.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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