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Volkswagen's UK sales fell in October, says SMMT

New VW cars Image copyright PA

Sales of Volkswagen brands including VW, Seat, and Skoda all fell last month in the UK amid the carmaker's emissions scandal.

The motor group has been embroiled in controversy over the level of emissions from its diesel and petrol cars.

Sales of VW branded cars fell 9.8%, Skoda dropped 3% and Seat sales sank 32.2%. However, sales of Audi, Porsche and Bentley cars all rose.

Overall, UK car sales in October fell by 1.1%, the industry body said.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said October's decline followed a record 43 consecutive months of growth.

The VW brand sold 13,970 cars in October, down from 15,495 in the same month last year. Of the Volkswagen Group brands that SMMT collects figures for, sales fell overall by about 6%.

However, Volkswagen was by no means the only carmaker to see sales fall on October. New car registrations for Vauxhall dropped 16%, and Ford's sales fell by nearly 9%.

Scandal widens

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, told BBC Radio 5 live: "Given the issues they've [Volkswagen] been experiencing over the last six weeks or so, some small adjustment is to be expected."

He said that the fall in Volkswagen car sales could be down to the "overall market levelling off", but also that the emissions scandal "invariably will cause some people to think again about purchasing, or just to find out more information, which can delay sales".

But Steve Fowler from Auto Express said the VW scandal could be depressing the wider car market.

"A decline in sales had to happen eventually - three-and-a-half years of growth - it's going to slow at some stage. But I do think the Volkswagen emissions scandal has had a clear effect," he said.

"We know a lot of people who've been in touch with us who are delaying a purchase. They still want to buy a car, but they're just not sure what they should do and frankly, who they should trust at the moment."

The Volkswagen group has been under close scrutiny since the emissions scandal broke in September.

US regulator the Environmental Protection Agency found software installed in cars with a certain VW diesel engine that cheated emissions tests.

VW later admitted about 11 million cars worldwide were affected by the issue.

The scandal has widened to include carbon dioxide emissions "irregularities" thought to have included 800,000 cars in Europe.

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