Emissions scandal chokes VW’s November sales in US

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Sales of Volkswagen cars plunged 25 per cent in November in the wake of a massive emissions cheating scandal, the German automaker said Tuesday.

Sales dropped to 23,882 units in November compared with 31,725 units for all Volkswagen brand vehicles in November last year.

The dip in sales reflects the impact of the recent stop of sales for all 2-litre, 4-cylinder TDI vehicles as well as for the 3-litre V6, the company said in a news release.

Until now the scandal had not affected sales in the United States, which increased slightly in September and October.

The company admitted in September that most of its diesel cars sold in the US market had deceptive software that allowed them to pass emissions tests.

A rebate offensive in the US failed to help Volkswagen maintain its sales numbers. The Jetta and Passat models – the most important for VW in the US market – sold especially poorly.

“Volkswagen is working tirelessly on an approved remedy for the affected TDI vehicles,” said Mark McNabb, chief operating officer of Volkswagen of America. The newly redesigned 2016 Passat entered showrooms earlier this month.

The poor US sales news hit the same day as VW announced it would be recalling 324,000 diesel vehicles in India for manipulative software. The recall will include VW, Skoda and Audi models.

The damage from the emissions scandal took another toll Tuesday, when the Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency downgraded VW’s creditworthiness from A- to BBB+. The other two major rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch had already downgraded VW in the wake of the scandal.

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