VW’s diesel debacle may already have hit sales

Volkswagen’s Intriguing History

If you were wondering how long the Volkswagen scandal would take to make an impact on the company's top line, it looks like sales may already be slipping, less than a fortnight since the automaker admitted falsifying data.

Consumers already seem to be put off the cars, 11 million of which could now be recalled, analysts say.

Rain clouds are seen over a Volkswagen symbol at the main entrance gate at Volkswagen production plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.
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Demand for Volkswagen-branded diesel cars through German online car dealer slipped from 40 percent to 30 percent of total enquiries last week as the scandal unravelled, according to numbers flagged by Deutsche Bank analysts who described it as "the first 'tangible' number we came across in recent days".

In the U.K., price data firm Glass's said Volkswagen's used diesel cars valuations fell by 0.2 percent in September – but at the same time that the overall market rose by 2.8 percent.

"It's clear that the value of Volkswagens were lower than expected and this was very likely to be the result of the emissions scandal," Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass's, said in a statement.

Will VW survive the fallout from the emissions scandal?

"A number of key trade buyers are viewing Volkswagen conservatively for the time being."

Of course, sales are only one way that the scandal is likely to impact Volkswagen financially, with the prospect of a big fine from U.S. regulators one of the biggest factors driving down the share price in the days following the admission that the car maker had used software to make its diesel engines operate differently under test conditions and in the real world.

The real test of numbers will be in registration data, which will lag behind these earlier indications.

Volkswagen warned on Thursday that it would take months to get to the bottom of the rigging scandal and has pushed back its extraordinary general meeting.

Volkswagen emissions: Automakers’ tobacco moment?

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle