Further VW breach of trust as French unit reportedly logging false delivery figures for 7 years

03 July 2017

03 July 2017

Volkswagen Group (VW) has been accused of a cover-up that undermines its newly-professed post-Dieselgate transparency, after a leaked auditor report showed its French unit deliberately fiddled sales figures by a gigantic 800,000 vehicles since 2010 to falsely boost its financial performance. 

Despite the severity of findings that should have been relayed to investors, VW only said ′strategic differences’ were behind the effective firing of the head of VW’s French division Jacques Rivoal in May. 

The carmaker’s internal auditors found that the French arm recorded deliveries of some cars ′several months or even years’ before they were eventually registered by their owners. The registration process usually takes only weeks. The inaccurate figures covered almost 800,000 vehicles across the VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT group brands, beginning in 2010, according to Der Spiegel. 

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller received the auditors’ report on 24 April, and Rivoal was replaced within weeks. 

This is very serious news from the perspective of investors, as it seriously undermines their trust in the company’s reporting of its finances, directly impacting their own expectations of VW’s performance, and what returns they can expect from their stakes in the business. It also has consequences for the French auto market as a whole, which therefore has been operating under market conditions skewed by VW since 2010, with analysts factoring in VW having a larger share of the market than was actually the case, and making the market seem healthier than it was in reality. It serves as a reminder of the importance of companies accurately reporting sales figures. 

Legal action by investors would certainly now be expected, leading to yet more probes and adding to further loss of morale at the company still suffering from the fallout of its Dieselgate scandal.

Photograph courtesy of Volkswagen Group

The insight behind the news

Never miss another story – sign up to receive your complimentary Autovista Group Daily Brief. This timely and incisive daily briefing covering automotive news and insights on the issues affecting your business is delivered direct to your inbox.

Sign up