'We will do everything in our power to win back trust,' says VW in first post-scandal results statement

Money put aside by The Volkswagen Group to deal with its emissions scandal meant the firm made a post-tax loss of €1.7bn (£1.21bn, $1.85bn) in its first earnings statement since the scandal erupted.

VW: Money set aside to cover the costs of the emissions scandal let to a pre-tax loss in Q3 (Credit: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images)
VW: Money set aside to cover the costs of the emissions scandal let to a pre-tax loss in Q3 (Credit: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images)

However, the firm's chair said the results showed the firm's "core strength".

On 18 September the US Environmental Protection Agency accused the firm of placing software on nearly half a million US cars to avoid emissions regulations. By the next week, the scandal had evolved into one of the biggest corporate reputation crises of recent years.

The group released its earnings statement for the three months to the end of September today.

The results said that the firm had set aside €6.7bn to deal with the cost of the crisis – slightly higher than the €6.5bn figure previously stated.

Unit sales totalled 2.35 million in the quarter, down 3.7 per cent on the same quarter in 2014, but sales revenue increased by 5.3 per cent to €51.5bn, and the firm's operating profit before the €6.5bn figure was €3.2bn, only marginally down on Q3 2014. This in turn led to the post-tax loss for the quarter, but the firm has still made a post-tax profit for the calendar year so far of $4bn.

Matthias Müller, chair of the group, said: "The figures show the core strength of the Volkswagen Group on the one hand, while on the other the initial impact of the current situation is becoming clear. We will do everything in our power to win back the trust we have lost."

Chief financial officer Frank Witter added: "The Volkswagen Group has very solid and robust liquidity resources. This will help us manage the challenging situation caused by the financial impact of the diesel issue."

The statement goes on to say that the firm "expects deliveries to customers in 2015 to remain on a level with the previous year in a persistently challenging market environment".

It also says the "charges related to the irregularities in the software used for certain diesel engines" meant it expected 2015 operating profit to be "down significantly year-on-year".

Commenting on the results, Professor Andre Spicer of London's Cass Business School said: "Our own research on ‘On the Forgetting of Corporate Irresponsibility’ suggests that when firms face a crisis such as this, it is vital they put in place mechanisms to ensure they don't forget lessons learned.

"The great irony here is that this is not the first time VW have been in trouble for fitting defective devices. They were fined by US authorities for doing this in 1974. The real tragedy is that they did not seem to remember or learn from this harsh lesson."

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