Volkswagen Group's VW core brand new-car sales fell steeply in Europe's top five markets in July as the automaker continued to suffer from its emissions-rigging scandal. Other automakers including Opel, Renault and Fiat posted sales gains in the month.
VW brand's registrations plunged by 14 percent to 97,145 in the key markets of Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain, market researchers JATO Dynamics said in a statement.
Industrywide registrations for the month fell 2 percent to 836,431, hit by two fewer selling days.
"Traditionally there is a drop in demand ahead of summer but it is clear that Europe has started to feel the effect of Volkswagen's emissions issue," JATO analyst Felipe Munoz said in the statement.
VW remained Europe's top-selling brand but its market share in the five markets dropped to 11.6 percent in July from 13.2 percent in the same month last year.
Ford, the No. 2 brand in the markets, saw its registrations dip slightly by 0.1 percent. Opel/Vauxhall, the third best-selling brand, gained 2.1 percent.
VW Group's Audi brand's volume fell 3.5 percent, Renault was down 1 percent while Mercedes-Benz gained 2.8 percent and Fiat's volume rose by 3.4 percent, JATO data showed.
Opel sales were boosted by a 17 percent leap in demand for the new Astra and a 12 percent rise in Corsa volume. Sales of the VW Golf, Europe's best-selling car, plunged 24 percent, while Polo volume declined by 7.4 percent.
Fiat’s sales were helped by the new Fiat Tipo and the continued growth of the 500X, JATO said.
Other big winners include Dacia, which posted 13 percent growth in four of the five markets, thanks mostly to the Sandero hatchback, as well as Kia, whose sales gained 13 percent helped by a new Sportage.