[MILAN] Volkswagen's European sales and market share slipped in October, industry data showed on Tuesday, as the German carmaker's emissions-cheating scandal began to take its toll at a time when the overall market continued to grow.
New passenger car registrations in the European Union and European Free Trade Association trading block rose 2.7 per cent last month on a year ago to 1.14 million vehicles, according to the Brussels-based Association of European Carmakers (ACEA).
The increase marked the 26th consecutive month of growth in the region but at a slower rate than in the preceding months, although last month's figures were for one fewer selling day than in October 2014.
Nevertheless sales for the Volkswagen Group, Europe's biggest carmaker, dropped 0.8 per cent last month, while its European market share slipped to 25.2 per cent, down from 26.1 per cent in the same month last year.
VW's mass market brands suffered falls in sales last month, with Seat sales down 11.2 per cent, Skoda's down 2.9 per cent and the carmaker's namesake brand down 0.4 per cent.
However, premium brands Audi and Porsche still recorded healthy growth, with sales rising 3.5 per cent and 13.3 per cent respectively.
Because car deliveries typically occur several weeks after purchase decisions, the full repercussions of the scandal, which started with VW's admission on Sept 18 that diesel-engine emission tests had been rigged, are expected to become more apparent in November registration figures.
However, VW's drop in sales in October compares with a rise of 8.3 per cent the previous month.
The overall growth in the European market last month was mainly driven by German brands Daimler and BMW, rising 20.9 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively, and by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is enjoying strong sales of its new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X cars.
FCA's overall sales rose 7.7 per cent.
French automakers PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault underperformed the market, with their sales dipping 1.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively.
All the major national markets recorded sales increases in October except for the UK, where registrations fell 1.1 per cent. Among the five major markets, Italy recorded the biggest rise, of 8.6 per cent, followed by Spain with 5.2 per cent.
In the first 10 months of this year registrations are up 8.2 per cent at 11.93 million vehicles, ACEA added.