VW emissions test-cheating scandal could kill US diesel car market

Frankfurt, January 1

Volkswagen (VW)’s emissions test-cheating scandal could kill nascent markets for diesel cars in North America, Japan and China, the chief executive of automotive supplier Continental has told a German newspaper.

“The diesel passenger car could sooner or later disappear from these markets,” Elmar Degenhart said in an interview with markets daily Boersen-Zeitung published on Thursday.

He added that diesel had a market share of only one to three per cent in these countries, compared with 53 per cent in Europe.

Last month, Continental’s finance chief said the scandal was having little effect on diesel markets in the United States or Europe.

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, had been promoting diesel as a clean alternative to gasoline in the United States, a market where it was struggling for a breakthrough, before the cheating came to light in September.

Degenhart said Continental had not supplied any software to manipulate emissions tests to any of its clients, reiterating what a company spokesman told media in October.

“We developed and supplied the engine controllers in line with VW’s specifications. The installation and tuning of the software, the so-called calibration, was done by VW,” he said.

He added that Continental was not aware of any legal investigations against it in connection with the scandal.

Staff at Continental’s arch-rival Bosch, the world’s biggest automotive supplier, are being investigated by public prosecutors in the German city of Stuttgart to find out whether they were involved in VW’s test-rigging.