VW scandal affected sales mainly outside Europe

While there was a slump after the Dieselgate scandal of VW, linked to cars made in Slovakia, sales have mostly evened out.

German carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia.German carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia. (Source: Sme)

The emissions scandal involving carmaker Volkswagen, the so-called Dieselgate, has adversely affected car exports mainly outside of Europe. The drops in sales, however, have been made up by sales on other markets and the production of other models, leading to a 4.5-percent growth in the overall number of automobiles manufactured in Slovakia in the first half of 2016, Slovak central bank (NBS) analysts said.

“The problems with emissions that emerged in the fourth quarter of 2015 were directly linked partly to luxury automobile models manufactured in our country,” the analysts added, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “After an initial slump in sales, however, the situation has calmed down.”

In terms of industrial production and overall automobile exports from Slovakia, there has been no discernible change in trend.

“If we look at preliminary statistics [from Eurostat] of exports of diesel cars of the largest cubic capacity – the Touareg and Q7 models manufactured in our country – some of the changes are more visible, although they were slightly influenced by the launch of production of the second generation of the Q7 model in Slovakia,” said the analysts.

Whereas exports of these vehicles have been growing within the EU, sales outside Europe recorded an almost 10-percent drop in the first half of 2016.

“It seems that the emissions problems affected the sales of Touaregs and Q7s mainly outside of Europe, with the biggest drops seen mostly in the United States and China,” the analysts continued, as quoted by TASR. “However, a decrease in exports of SUV models was recorded there even before the entire scandal broke.”

Interest among Americans in VW production declined, a fact confirmed by sales stats from July 2016, when the company sold 28,758 cars in the United States, a year-on-year drop of 8.12 percent. Volkswagen sold 177,772 cars in the country in the first seven months of this year, a year-on-year reduction of 13.6 percent.

The Volkswagen scandal surfaced in September 2015, when the American Environment Protection Agency found that Volkswagen had deliberately programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate certain emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing. The programming enabled the vehicles’ emissions output to meet US standards during regulatory testing, despite the fact that recorded emissions multiplied by up to 40 times in real-world driving, TASR reported.

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