VW Group hit by WLTP crisis  

  14 October 2018

A lack of WLTP approved engines has left Volkswagen Group retailers unable to take orders for the majority of its range.

An internal Volkswagen document seen by Auto Retail Agenda shows that as of the end of last month Volkswagen cars only had 18% of its engines, equating to less than 30% of the usual model mix, approved for WLTP regulations.

The Volkswagen cars website currently shows only the Up and Touareg are available as a build order, the rest of the range is only available from stock – which is limited to the small percentage of derogated vehicles held by the group.

Auto Retail Agenda understands that the issue is impacting the whole of the VW Group, but that Volkswagen cars and Audi have suffered most.

The issue hit home in September, when Volkswagen registrations fell more than 55%. However, several dealers have told Auto Retail Agenda that the problem is likely to continue to the end of the year.

The Europe-wide ordering issues stem from a lack of WLTP approved models rather than a lack of production. VW’s production for September, October and November is understood to be ahead of where it was last year. However, technical data to allow WLTP approval and then a MVRIS code to enable the car to be registered in the UK are still playing catch-up.

Some retailers have reported that 2019 model-year cars have been arriving at dealerships without a MVRIS code so they can’t be registered.

Commenting on the situation, one VW retailer said: “The situation makes retail challenging, but for fleet it’s catastrophic. I think VW has accepted that Q4 for fleet has gone. Customers have really got to want a car because we can’t give any kind of delivery date.”

The September shortfall, which several retailers expect to continue to the end of the year, has not only impacted new car profitability but also used car profits as retailers haven’t had their usual level of trade-in stock arrive and have instead had to go to the market to fill forecourts.

Dr Christian Dahlheim, head of group sales, said: “So far this year, the Volkswagen Group has reported record deliveries. Following the very strong summer months, we expected lower deliveries in September, both in the overall market and for the Volkswagen Group, as a result of the WLTP changeover. That applies in particular to Europe and will continue into October. We expect November and December to be stronger months in this region. The WLTP changeover at all brands will be virtually complete by the end of the year.”

Speaking in September, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess also blamed dieselgate for the tardy response to the WLTP changes: “Volkswagen and Audi are lagging behind as regards WLTP. That’s also because we’ve devoted a lot of our attention to the diesel crisis. Our development teams were under huge pressure. However, we also have to be self-critical and admit that we didn’t control the WLTP project enough.”

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