Volkswagen boss is confident in his vision of a sunnier, brighter future for the company… he can just about make it out through the heavily polluted emission clouds.
Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller announced he is confident that the beleaguered automobile company will eventually regain the trust of its customers following the emissions scandal that tore through the industry after results reveal its core auto division posted positive growth this January.
Though the scandal caused a domino effect of chaos – and we’re not being hyperbole – for the company, and the automobile industry as a whole, with stock prices slashed, sales of the diesel vehicles frozen and lawsuits costing in the excess of billions filed, there appears to be a glimmer of hope for the German carmakers. Global sales for the VW brand increased by 2.8 percent in January this year, with sales of around 521,400. Whilst this works as a reassuring tagline for shareholders and consumers alike, the news is not necessarily as hopeful as Mueller would have many believe. The global sales increase is due in most part to a 15 percent increase in sales in China, the company’s biggest market. Though any improvement for the company is not to be sniffed at following months of bad press and repercussions, the sales increase in China luckily hides the fact that the emissions scandal is still affecting customer attitudes across Europe and the United States. Sales fell 3.1 percent in Europe, with a 5.2 percent decline in Germany. The worst damage was seen in the United States though, where sales were down 15 percent.
The situation in America is still a tense one for Volkswagen. They have yet to come up with an acceptable technical fix for the estimated 600,000 cars affected by the emissions scandal and four states have now filed their own lawsuits accusing the company of deliberately violating their air and pollution laws. These lawsuits are on top of the federal lawsuit filed, which is seeking reparations in the excess of billions of dollars. Though Mueller might be confident their European consumers might forgive and forget, he is reported as saying: “We will certainly be a loser in the U.S.” Blunt and honest; we approve.
Volkswagen have had a tough time of it, whether it has been deserved or not, but do you think they deserve to have the slate wiped clean? ‘To sin is human to forgive is divine,’ as the saying goes, after all.