VW had a bad month but it could have been so much worse

Volkswagen reported a small gain in US sales for the month of October.

The company’s 0.24% sales growth over the same month last year beat industry expectations.

The company struggled in its first full month since it became embroiled in an emissions cheating scandal that saw the ouster of CEO Martin Winterkorn.

“VW sales were flat during the best month of auto sales in the 21st century,” Kelley Blue Book senior editor Karl Brauer told Business Insider.

VW failed to grow its business at a time when its competitors such as Ford, GM and Toyota all experienced double digit growth.

However, it could have been much much worse.

According to Bloomberg, the consensus among analysts is that the company’s sales were expected contract by more that 6%.

As a result of the scandal which saw VW admit to cheating US emissions tests using defeat software in its 2.0 litre, TDI diesel engined cars, the company was forced to stop selling the diesel models which accounted for roughly 20% of total sales.

In reaction to this, VW offered its dealers generous incentives on models such as the Jetta and Passat sedans as well as the Tiguan compact crossover. This allowed the brand to claw back some of the sales lost due to the lack of TDI models.

With the auto industry approach record annual sales of nearly 18 million SAAR, VW also benefited from the industry-wide sales boom buoyed by the availability of financing and the advanced age of the US auto fleet.

“They were just riding the wave,” Brauer said.

2015 VW PassatVolkswagen2015 Volkswagen Passat.

In September, the EPA issued a notice of violation to VW and announced that the company had admitted to cheating emissions on 482,000 diesel cars sold in the US from 2008-2015. This scandal eventually spread to included over 11 million cars worldwide. This lead to the resignation of CEO Winterkorn and the installation of Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller as the company’s new chief executive.

This week, the EPA issued a second notice of violation accusing VW Group of cheating emissions on the company’s larger 3.0 litre, TDI engines installed in at least 10,000 cars sold over past couple of years. The cars involved in the September NOV featured a handful of VW models and a single Audi Model. The latest NOV featured the diesel variants of the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and a slew of Audi models.

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