German carmaker Volkswagen's sales fell in September because of the introduction of new exhaust systems regulations, the Wolfsburg-based company announced on Tuesday.
The Volkswagen brand delivered 485,000 vehicles in total to customers in September, marking a decline of 18.3 percent compared to the same period last year. In Europe and domestic market, delivers were down by an annual rate of 42.6 percent and 47.1 percent respectively.
According to Volkswagen, the development was "chiefly due" to the effects of the new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) which became legally binding across the European Union (EU) in September.
On Monday, the rival German Daimler Group similarly revealed a 8.2 percent slump in September sales which it blamed on logistical difficulties surrounding the WLTP certification process.
Earlier, technological changes required to fulfil the WLTP standards already led Volkswagen to issue a profit warning for 2018. The company emphasized, however, that "outstanding figures" since the start of the year had helped soften the decline in sales experienced in September.
In the year to date, the Volkswagen brand has handed over some 4,622,900 vehicles to customers throughout the world. Sales consequently rose 2.9 percent during the first nine months compared to the same period last year.
"The year to date has been the most successful ever for Volkswagen. Developments in September were a setback, but we had been expecting this following the records in the summer," a statement by Juergen Stackmann, Volkswagen board member for sales, read.
Stackmann noted that his company had now obtained approval for high-volume variants of all 14 Volkswagen brand models but would continue to be affected by the transition to the WLTP test procedure throughout October.
He predicted that the ongoing changeover would be "virtually completed" by the end of the year. "This is why we expect a return to our old strength. From November, we will be ready for the end-of-year sprint in Europe."