Volkswagen shrugs off scandal woes as 2016 deliveries rise to record

Volkswagen AG confirmed on Tuesday it has negotiated a US$4.3 billion (S$62.3 billion) draft settlement with US regulators to resolve its diesel emissions troubles and plans to plead guilty to criminal misconduct.
The logo of German car maker Volkswagen seen at a northern Virginia dealer in Woodbridge, Virginia.
The logo of German car maker Volkswagen seen at a northern Virginia dealer in Woodbridge, Virginia.PHOTO: AFP

DETROIT (BLOOMBERG) - Volkswagen delivered more cars and trucks than ever before, shrugging off the emissions-cheating scandal by wooing more customers in China.

The German manufacturer, which vies with Toyota Motor for the title of the world's biggest automaker, posted a 3.8 per cent rise in sales to 10.3 million vehicles in 2016, the company said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 10).

Amid an ongoing recovery from the worst crisis in its history, Volkswagen plans to roll out nearly 60 new or revamped vehicles this year, including the VW Polo subcompact, Skoda Yeti SUV, Audi A8 sedan and Bentley Continental GT coupe.

"We managed to stabilize the operating business in difficult conditions," chief executive officer Matthias Mueller said in the statement. "The fact that we handed over more than 10 million vehicles to customers last year bolsters the group and its brands as we head for the future."

While Volkswagen has been reeling since admitting to rigging about 11 million diesel cars worldwide to cheat on emissions tests, customers have largely shrugged off the carmaker's push for profit over public health. The group, which sold more than 10 million vehicles for only the second time in its history, is insulated by its strong position in China, where diesel vehicles are not an issue for consumers.

Volkswagen, which owns 12 auto brands ranging from budget-oriented Seat to sporty Porsche to heavy truck units Scania and MAN, delivered 3.98 million vehicles in China last year, 12 per cent more than 2015. That growth more than offset a 2.6 per cent dip in the US to 591,000 cars and trucks.