Volkswagen’s European market share falls below 25% – The Guardian

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Volkswagen’s share of European car sales fell last month as US manufacturers capitalised on the German company’s emissions rigging scandal to notch up strong gains.

VW’s group market share fell to 24.5% from 26.8% a year earlier as its main Volkswagen brand’s share tumbled to 12.2% from 13.5%. Group sales rose 4.2% but did worse than the wider market, where sales increased by 13.7% to 1.12m, figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association showed.

VW’s Skoda brand stood out with sales up 11.2% while its Seat budget range was the group’s worst performer, losing 2.5%. Sales at VW’s German rival BMW increased 11%.

Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors’ Opel all recorded sales up more than 18%. Ford sales rose 20.5% and GM’s European arm, up 18.3%, received a boost from its recently launched Astra compact model.

Loss of European market share underlines VW’s problems after it admitted to one of the world’s biggest corporate scandals. It faces the prospect of paying tens of billions of pounds in fines and legal costs for rigging its cars to falsify tests for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions.

Last week, Matthias Muller, VW’s chief executive admitted the company was “fighting for every sale and every customer” as it tries to stabilise its position.

The figures showed VW’s loss of market share accelerating after falls of 0.4 percentage points in September, when the scandal broke, and 0.9 percentage points in October. Car deliveries typically occur several weeks after purchase decisions, making November’s data the best gauge so far of the impact on demand.

Though the European figures were bad for VW, they were better than the 20% fall in sales suffered by Volkswagen-branded cars in the UK last month. VW shares rose 2% to €126.

Renault had sales up 15.1% and its French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen rose 12.8% with a buoyant Peugeot brand partially offset by weaker performance at its Citroen business.

EAMA said: “The EU passenger car market recorded a very strong increase, marking the 27th consecutive month of growth. All major passenger car markets rose strongly during the month, significantly contributing to the positive outcome of the EU perimeter.”

Sales rose 25% in Spain, 23% in Italy and 11% in France. The UK market recovered, notching up a 3.8% increase in sales after showing a decline in October, EAMA said.


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