Slowing sales at Europe’s biggest automakers – including scandal-hit Volkswagen – took the pace off growth in the region’s car market last month, as registrations expanded at their slowest rate since May.
Passenger car registrations in the European Union rose 2.9 per cent in October to 1.1m units, meaning sales have risen more than 8 per cent in the year to date
The sub-3 per cent growth rate was slower than the 9 per cent or more recorded in the prior four months.
Slowing growth has partly been blamed on VW, which has been left reeling by a string of revelations over its compliance with global emissions test standards.
Europe’s biggest carmaker, which accounts for about one in four car sales in the EU, admitted in September to cheating on US tests for nitrogen oxides, and said last week that an internal investigation had also turned up issues with CO2 testing in 800,000 cars in Europe, including almost 100,000 petrol models.
VW group’s October sales were down 0.5 per cent year-on-year, as the namesake passenger car brand declined by 0.2 per cent. The struggling Spanish Seat nameplate, also owned by VW, fell 11 per cent, but premium badge Audi rose 4.1 per cent.
Analysts say the 12-brand VW group has yet to feel the full commercial impact of the emissions scandal, since deliveries occur several weeks after purchases are made.
VW’s performance was not out of step with Europe’s other leading manufacturers in October, with Peugeot, Renault and Opel – owned by General Motors of the US – all posting declines. Ford, however, bucked the trend, with a small gain last month.