Volkswagen group sales 2.2 percent lower in November

BERLIN: Volkswagen said Friday that its global sales were 2.2 percent lower in November than a year earlier, with increases in western European and Chinese deliveries helping cushion the impact of steep drops in the US and elsewhere.

The German automaker, whose brands include Audi, Porsche and Seat as well as the core Volkswagen marque, has been hit by fallout from the diesel emissions-cheating scandal that erupted in mid-September in the US and then spread worldwide.

The company said it delivered 833,700 vehicles worldwide last month, down from 852,900 in November 2014.

While US sales were off 15.3 percent at 45,300 units, and there were steeper drops in Brazil and Russia amid unrelated economic troubles, deliveries in western Europe were up 2.6 percent at 270,400 and sales in China rose 5.5 percent to 329,000.

Unlike in the US, there has been no confirmation Volkswagen cheated on European emissions tests. It will nevertheless recall some 8.5 million cars across the region to fix their emissions systems.

For the year's first 11 months, group deliveries fell 1.7 percent to nearly 9.1 million from the previous year's 9.26 million.

The company didn't give a breakdown for sales of vehicles with diesel and gasoline engines.

CEO Matthias Mueller acknowledged that "the Volkswagen Group and its brands are currently experiencing challenging times."

"At the same time, we are pleased that our customers are remaining loyal to us, especially in this situation, and continue to place their trust in us," he said in a statement.

The core Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand saw deliveries drop 2.4 percent to 496,100 vehicles in November, while January-November sales were down 4.5 percent to some 5.34 million. The brand delivered 6.12 million cars in total last year.

VW brand sales executive Juergen Stackmann noted the drop through November and said: "in view of the situation of the brand, which is currently challenging, I do not expect that we will be able to compensate for this fall in the remaining days of the year."