Scandal-hit Volkswagen says car sales slump 5.3 per cent in October

The exhaust pipe of a Skoda with a TDI diesel engine outside a Volkswagen used car dealership.
The exhaust pipe of a Skoda with a TDI diesel engine outside a Volkswagen used car dealership.EPA

BERLIN (AFP) - Volkswagen said Friday sales of cars bearing the VW badge fell 5.3 per cent in October as the global pollution cheating storm engulfing the German auto giant hit European demand.

"The Volkswagen passenger cars brand is experiencing challenging times. We not only face the diesel and CO2 issues but also tense situations on world markets," said Juergen Stackmann, chief of the Volkswagen brand.

"In western Europe, the temporary sales stops for vehicles affected by the diesel issue had an impact on sales," he added.

Deliveries slipped 1.3 per cent in western Europe compared to a year ago, with weakening demand seen in Germany, Spain and Italy.

Global sales were, however, lifted by its biggest market China, where deliveries rose 1.8 per cent to 233,500 cars for the month.

Volkswagen is struggling to cope with the biggest crisis of its history over its admission in September that it had fitted 11 million vehicles with devices designed to cheat pollution tests.

The so-called defeat devices turn on pollution controls when the car is undergoing testing, and off when it is back on the road, allowing it to spew out harmful levels of nitrogen oxide.

The revelations have sparked investigations in several countries but they turned out to only be the beginning as Volkswagen last week admitted that it also understated carbon emissions, for 800,000 vehicles.