The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

LON­DON — Volk­swa­gen car sales in Bri­tain dropped by al­most 20% in Novem­ber com­pared with the same pe­riod in 2014 as the com­pany’s emis­sions test­ing scan­dal took a toll.

There were 12 958 Volk­swa­gen reg­is­tra­tions in Novem­ber 2015 in the UK, com­pared to 16 196 in Novem­ber 2014, the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders said Fri­day (De­cem­ber 4).

Over­all auto sales rose by 3,8%, that saw Volk­swa­gen’s mar­ket share in Bri­tain drop to 7,2% from 9,4% a year ear­lier. Other au­tomak­ers in the Volk­swa­gen Group, such as SEAT, Skoda and Porsche, also suf­fered neg­a­tive UK sales.

The drop in sales was sim­i­lar to the 25% slump re­ported in the United States, the epi­cen­tre of Volk­swa­gen’s scan­dal. The com­pany, which ri­vals Toy­ota for the ti­tle as world’s largest car maker, ad­mit­ted in Septem­ber that its diesel ve­hi­cles had cheated on U.S. emis­sions tests.

The sales num­bers for Novem­ber are closely watched in part be­cause of a lag of sev­eral weeks be­tween the time a car is pur­chased and reg­is­tered. The month’s fig­ures for the wider Euro­pean Union are due on De­cem­ber 15.

Volk­swa­gen says it had in­stalled the cheating soft­ware in 11 mil­lion cars glob­ally. It ad­mit­ted that 482 000 two-litre and 85 000 six-cylin­der diesel ve­hi­cles in the U.S. con­tained the soft­ware. In Europe, about 8,5 mil­lion cars have it, though there is no con­fir­ma­tion the cars cheated on Euro­pean tests.

Volk­swa­gen has set aside $7,2 bil­lion to cover the cost of fix­ing the cars, but ex­perts say the scan­dal will cost the com­pany much more, in part through lost sales. — AP.

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