Volkswagen has been stripped of two “Green Car of the Year” titles following the revelation of its emissions test-rigging schemes. The news illustrates that the most serious damage to the company may be to its image, even as it sets aside over $7 billion for repair costs and regulatory fines.
Sales numbers released today confirmed such fears, with September sales coming in flat. The company’s September sales were far behind industry competitors, except for Audi vehicles. The news was especially dire considering that brands like Ford, Toyota and Nissan all posted double-digit gains due to Labor Day weekend sales.
Such large gains were an unusual quirk of accounting, because in 2014, Labor Day sales were counted under August sales, whereas this year they fell under September. Kelley Blue Book analyst Alec Gutierrez stated that the company’s sales for October and November would give a better picture of the damage it has sustained from the scandal.
Kelley Blue Book said that interest in prices of Volkswagen vehicles had increased almost 80% in recent weeks. The car-shopping site TrueCar said that interest in buyers for such vehicles has seen an associated decline. Customers of the brand may end up saving money if they do choose to buy, with TrueCar vice president Larry Dominique expecting the company to issue more incentives to lure back interest.
The company stopped selling its 2-liter diesel vehicles following the September 18th announcement of the emissions issue.
The affected awards were originally given to the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2010 Audi TDI. These models were specifically chosen in part for their high fuel efficiency. As a result of its emissions scheme, these vehicles were able to achieve higher mileage numbers due to an associated rise in the emission of nitrogen oxide.
The Green Car Journal editor, Ron Cogan stated that the decision to remove the rewards was “unfortunate but appropriate.”