Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal began to hit vehicle sales in October, according to a leading automotive consultancy. As Sonia Legg reports the German group lost ground in Western Europe, where overall market growth slowed to 2.7 percent.
VW sales in Britain were down almost 10 percent year on year in October, reversing the previous month's growth trend. But it wasn't a clear picture for the industry or VW's brands - Porsche and Bentley sales were up, Seat and Skoda's were down Across Europe it was equally complex - but there was clear evidence the emissions cheating scandal did start to hit sales in October. LMC Automotive reported a 2 percent rise in car registrations across the region's top five economies. But VW Group sales were down 2.7 percent. Commerzbank's Peter Dixon (SOUNDBITE) (English): PETER DIXON, GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "A number of other car manufacturers are down as well so we probably should not isolate VW and say that this is all down to the problems that VW are facing but I think it is having an impact." VW has said it will retest all Volkswagen car models to check emissions. But that offer didn't come until six weeks after the scandal first emerged. With fines from U.S. authorities also looming VW is facing enormous costs. The value of the company has also fallen again - it's now worth almost 40 percent less than prior to the crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (English): PETER DIXON, GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "It takes an awful long time to build up a reputation and not long to destroy it and I think the interesting issue for Volkswagen going forward will be how to limit the damage and not cause the kind of brand destruction that has impacted other companies in the past." VW sales were still 1 million higher than the 2014 total. But November's figures could deliver more pain as car deliveries generally occur several weeks after purchase.