Audi’s global sales rise 7% in September despite diesel-emissions scandal

MUNICH (Bloomberg) — Audi’s global sales rose nearly 7 percent in September despite the diesel emissions-rigging scandal that has affected the brand’s A3 compact hatchback and Q5 midsize SUV.

Deliveries at the Volkswagen Group unit were up 6.8 percent to 170,900 cars last month, lifted by demand for the revamped Q7 large SUV, the company said Thursday in a statement. Through September, sales increased 3.8 percent to 1.35 million vehicles.

“In light of difficult market conditions during the third quarter in key sales regions, our performance was positive,” said Luca de Meo, Audi’s head of sales, who was appointed, in a recent group management shuffle, to take charge at VW’s Seat brand.

Audi will introduce 15 new or revamped models by the middle of next year, providing a boost to sales, de Meo said.

In China, Audi’s biggest market, sales in September rose 2.9 percent, trimming the decline this year to 0.3 percent. In the U.S., where the diesel scandal was uncovered, last month’s deliveries rose 16 percent. European deliveries rose 8.8 percent.

While Audi continued to record sales growth, its parent company has been rattled by revelations of cheating on diesel emissions tests in a scandal affecting nearly 11 million vehicles globally. Volkswagen admitted to installing software designed to fool U.S. emissions testers since 2009 and now faces costs and lost revenue from its damaged image of more than 35 billion euros ($39.6 billion), Warburg Research estimates.

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