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VW Reports First Quarterly Loss In This Century, At $1.8 Billion

A car departs from Volkswagen's factory and company headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. The company says the fallout from its diesel emissions scandal is still becoming clear, as it reports a large quarterly loss.
A car departs from Volkswagen's factory and company headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. The company says the fallout from its diesel emissions scandal is still becoming clear, as it reports a large quarterly loss.

Reporting its first quarterly loss in at least 15 years, Volkswagen is adjusting its profits forecast for 2015. The company says its sales revenue rose — but that costs related to an emissions-cheating scandal overwhelmed earnings to finish at a $1.8 billion loss.

That $1.8 billion figure represents the after-tax loss claimed by Volkswagen in its new quarterly statement. The carmaker's loss before taxes was far higher: $3.8 billion.

Volkswagen says the losses came along with only a modest drop in sales for the quarter, down 3.7 percent from the third quarter of 2014. We'll remind you, the tally includes all of VW's divisions, such as Audi, Bentley and Porsche. Comparing September 2015 with the previous year, sales were down 1.5 percent.

"The figures show the core strength of the Volkswagen Group on the one hand, while on the other the initial impact of the current situation is becoming clear," said the company's new CEO, Matthias Mueller. He added, "We will do everything in our power to win back the trust we have lost."

In addition to a damaged reputation, Volkswagen also faces possible fines and legal actions stemming from last month's revelations that the company had for years used software to cheat emissions tests on its diesel-powered cars.

VW is also working on ways to fix the cars so they no longer turn off emissions controls during normal driving and activate only during official tests.

"The company says it still faces considerable costs related to the scandal for which the company has set aside nearly $7.5 billion," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Berlin. "But some financial analysts predict the scandal could cost the German automaker a lot more."

Reuters reports, "Volkswagen confirmed the loss it reported on Wednesday was its first quarterly loss in at least 15 years but, due to accounting changes, was unable to say precisely when the last loss occurred."

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