VW admits slower sales in Cebu due to scandal

FOLLOWING the Volkswagen emission scandal in September, the automaker’s sales in Cebu this month saw a “slowdown” from the previously recorded double-digit growth in the previous months.

“(We experienced a) double-digit growth in the past months and in September. In October, we were expecting it to grow, but the issue has affected it,” said Volkswagen Cebu branch manager Renato Dumaraos in a recent interview with Sun.Star Cebu at the Volkswagen showroom in North Reclamation Area in Cebu City.

In September, the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen Group, to which the German automaker has admitted that it has been cheating in diesel emissions tests by using a software defeat device that made 11 million cars worldwide appear less polluting under lab conditions than they were on the road.

But Dumaraos clarified that all Volkswagen vehicles sold in the Philippines are not affected by the software used in diesel engines.

“Volkswagen Philippines has just received official information from Volkswagen AG that all vehicles distributed and sold by Volkswagen Philippines are not affected by the particular software used in diesel engines,” said the Ayala Corp. Philippine dealership in a statement published in the Volkswagen Philippines website last Oct. 2.

“This is a perception issue in the Philippines now,” Dumaraos added.

The official said that in its Cebu dealership, he personally raises the emission scandal to buyers, or even those planning to buy one, so he could make it clear to them that the Volkswagen cars sold in the Philippines are not faced with the current emission problems.

Volkswagen Cebu has sold nearly 100 cars over a one-year period. It opened the Cebu dealership in September 2014.

In addition, Dumaraos stressed that Volkswagen cars in the Philippines are already adopting the Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission standards. The country is presently adopting the Euro 2 standards. The official said that as the Euro number increases, there are less pollutants in car emissions.

Department Administrative Order No. 2015-04 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued in March this year requires the use of cleaner fuel effective July 2015, and provides that “all new vehicles to be used or introduced into the Philippine market by January 2016 should be equipped with Euro 4 engine and compliant with Euro 4 emission standards.”

Starting 2016, the DENR would issue the six-year Certificates of Conformity (COC) only to Euro 4 compliant vehicles, a requirement for vehicle registration.

Dumaraos said this gives Volkswagen an advantage over other car brands in the country today, as they are still compliant with the Euro 2 standards.

“We are confident that we will even reach more growth next year,” Dumaraos said.

Last Tuesday, Volkswagen Cebu held a media launch of the eighth generation Passat. The mid-size sedan is offered at a price range between P2.28 million and P2.79 million.

The first Passat models rolled off the production line 42 years ago as a hatchback. Since then, more than 22 million vehicles in its series have been sold worldwide.

The Passat was crowned the 2015 European Car of the Year. It was formally introduced in Manila last Wednesday.

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