- REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Volkswagen is having a dreadful run: first it was rumbled for cheating emissions tests, and now it’s lost its position as the world’s biggest car manufacturer by sales.
VW sold a huge 7.43 million cars in the nine months up to September, but that wasn’t enough to stay on top, as Toyota sold 7.49 million over the same period.
The car company briefly became the world’s biggest in the first half of the year, selling 5.04 million cars, around 20,000 more than Toyota, but now its been knocked off its perch. The worst thing about it: the full force of the emissions scandal has yet to fully hit sales.
Losing its position as top carmaker was actually driven by a huge slowdown in sales for VW in emerging markets. This is particularly true in Brazil, where the country’s tanking economy meant that sales for the first nine months of 2015 dropped by more than 30%
The most recent figures show that VW’s sales in the USA and UK have actually grown by 7.3% and 3.8% respectively far this year. However, the numbers were counted around two weeks after the scandal hit, meaning that the impact on sales can’t have manifested itself.
Analysts are becoming less and less enthused by VW’s prospects right now. A survey from the Financial Times shows that since the scandal hit, fewer analysts give the company a ‘buy’ rating, and more are favouring ‘hold’ and ‘sell’. The FT also reports that analysts are expecting things to get worse for Volkswagen in the coming months as the dust settles on the emissions scandal, saying that Q4 of 2015 could be very gloomy for Europe’s biggest automaker.
VW is likely to be given substantial fines for its role in cheating emissions tests, and will have to foot the bill for recalling and repairing the affected cars. New chief executive, Matthias Muller – who replaced Martin Winterkorn – has recalled around 11 million vehicles worldwide, a move expected to cost VW dearly.
The company has already said that it will cut investment in the Volkswagen brand by at least €1 billion (£720 million; $1.1 billion), and has set aside €6.5 billion to deal with the costs of being caught out.