Scandal-Plagued VW Faced Financial Ruin In 2015 — Now It’s Top Automaker In 2016

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Volkswagen hemorrhaged several billion dollars in 2015 thanks to last year’s fuel emissions scandal, which was apparently just a speed bump, as the German car company is now the top-selling automaker in the market.

The company said it lost $6.2 billion in 2015 as a result of the fuel emissions cheating scandal it became mired in during the latter part of the year. To put that into perspective: VW lost more money in 2015 then it made in profit ($2.8 billion) during 2014.

Yet somehow, the much-maligned company is now sitting atop the car market, beating out competitors such as Toyota and General Motors.

VW outsold its closest competitors — Toyota and General Motors — by hundreds of thousands of units.

The German carmaker pushed out 2.51 million vehicles, despite facing the specter of departing with tens of billions of dollars through litigation connected to its fossil fuel emission cheating scandal in 2015.

Toyota, for its part, saw its sales dip below 2.3 percent from January to April, resulting in the selling only 2.46 million cars. GM came in a distant third place, and experienced a 2.5 percent slide in sells, with only 2.36 million vehicles sold so far this quarter. GM blamed poor sales in Latin America and China for its trouble.

Analysts speculated in 2015 that VW’s sells would be largely unaffected, because many of the vehicles the company sells in China are not diesel powered, thus allowing the carmaker to avoid any repercussions in the country. Only 1,000 of the three million vehicles VW sells in China were diesel powered.

Still, everything is not flowers and roses for VW.

The company was forced to ratchet up the amount of money it set aside to handle the scandal, to $18.2 billion, and that amount could increase as more fines and lawsuits come down the pike. VW previously stashed $7.6 billion away to atone for the scandal.

VW acknowledged in September installing “defeat devices” in hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered vehicle, including in many high-selling models such as the Beetle and Porsche Cayenne.

The company warned sales for its cars could tumble 5 percent this year, from $239 billion in 2015.

VW hired highly touted consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to handle its push to remake its image following the scandal, people close to the situation told reporters on Wednesday. They remained unnamed due to the sensitive nature of the talks.

The company made the decision after recognizing it struggled to handle the public relations side of the debacle. Volkswagen.

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