Volkswagen's Diesel-Emissions Crisis Does Not Deter Shoppers From Showrooms | Edmunds

Volkswagen's Diesel-Emissions Crisis Does Not Deter Shoppers From Showrooms


SANTA MONICA, California Volkswagen's emissions-cheating crisis is not expected to put the brakes on September car sales, according to Edmunds.com.

"Volkswagen's deception is dominating headlines, but it is not keeping shoppers away from other brands' showrooms," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com director of industry analysis. "It puts the crisis in a little bit of perspective, since these Volkswagen diesels don't constitute a very big share of sales.

"It's also a reminder that buyers won't disappear from the market because they suddenly can't or don't want to buy these affected cars. They?re willing to turn to other automakers that will meet their needs."

Volkswagen admitted to using a "cheat device" to pass EPA emissions tests for many of its diesel-powered vehicles since 2009. The crisis involves 11 million VW vehicles worldwide.

Edmunds projects that Volkswagen/Audi will be the only major manufacturer to post year-over-year sales losses in September. A 2.0 percent decrease in VW/Audi sales is expected.

Ford and Hyundai/Kia are expected to turn in strong September sales performances.

Edmunds is projecting a 10.1 percent decrease in overall sales from August 2015, but a 13.9 percent increase from September 2014. This will make the September sales volume the biggest September since 2004.

"The VW diesel matter has not affected overall industry sales," Caldwell said.

In fact, many shoppers who like the spirited performance of VW diesels and want to take the alt-fuel route may opt for "more fun-to-drive hybrids and EVs," Caldwell said.

Edmunds counts 44 models that are offered with diesel-powered engines in the 2015 model year. VW and Audi combine to produce 17 models — or 39 percent — of those 44 total models.

Other diesel vehicles on the market include diesel versions of the BMW 3 Series, Chevrolet Cruze and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

Less than 4 percent of cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. in 2014 were diesel-powered, according to industry statistics.

The Diesel Technology Forum, a Washington, D.C.-area nonprofit that advocates diesel technology, said it will not comment on the VW situation, but still promotes clean-diesel technology.

"Nothing has changed the fact that the diesel engine is the most energy efficient internal combustion engine," it said in a statement. "We are confident that consumers will continue to find the new generation of clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs as a competitive choice to meet their personal transportation needs."

The gap is closing between gasoline and diesel fuel pump prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In its most recent update, the EIA said the average price for a regular gallon of unleaded gasoline in August stood at $2.64, compared to $2.60 for diesel.

Edmunds says: The Volkswagen diesel-emissions crisis appears to be a self-inflicted wound, since it is expected to have a minimal impact on September auto sales.

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