Matthias Müller

In U.S., VW Mea Culpa as Sales Decline

Matthias Mueller CEO VW Volkswagen at the Detroit Auto Show Jan 10 2016 Source Paul Sancya AP
Matthias Müller, VW's chief executive, apologized again for the diesel emissions scandal.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If VW can’t win back trust of customers and regulators, the Dieselgate scandal could further weigh on German automakers’s market share in the United States.

  • Facts


    • Volkswagen saw its core brand sales decline by 5 percent in 2015 in the United States, while its Porsche and Audi brands increased by 11 percent.
    • In 2012, German car brands had an 8.8 percent market share in the United States, but it has since declined to 8 percent.
    • VW will present a new catalytic converter system to repair about 430,000 U.S. cars with manipulated diesel engines and buy back some other cars, CEO Matthias Müller said.
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As the Detroit Auto Show kicks off the new year, the mood among the “Big Three” U.S. carmakers couldn’t be better. Americans spent a record-breaking $570 billion (€621 billion) on more than 17 million new automobiles in 2015.

The German automobile industry, however, faces a long-term downward trend in the United States, the world’s second-largest market after China. In 2012, German brands had an 8.8 percent stake in the United States. Over the past several years, their share has declined to 8 percent.

Despite 2015’s record sales, German automakers failed to keep pace with the U.S. market, which grew by 5.7 percent overall. BMW’s core brand grew by just two percent in 2015, with an 18 percent decline in December compared to the previous year. Its British subsidiary Mini grew by four percent. Daimler’s Mercedes grew by just under four percent.

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