Volkswagen September sales were whatever you want them to be

Are we confused yet?

Are we confused yet?


The picture above is what stares at me from my screen. It is the output of the Daily Kanban Newsbot that helps us stay abreast of the news without waiting for Autoblog. The bot reads the headlines, and the bot is as confused as I. The fabled checking with multiple independent sources comes to a halt. Sales up? Down? Flat? Left? Right? Tylenol?

Left in a state of confusion by a moronic media, the best option we have is to emigrate to checking the facts ourselves. For the record, Volkswagen U.S. group sales were up 5.9 percent in September, in a market where passenger car sales rose 6.7 percent and trucks jumped 23.7 percent. Nine months into the year, Volkswagen Group sales are up an anemic 2.4 percent. If we really want to read something into the data – but we shouldn’t – then #dieselgate was good for VW.

Of course, only a total airhead will assume that a scandal that broke near the end of the month would impact sales in a meaningful way. In the long run, #dieselgate probably will affect Volkswagen like SUA affected Toyota’s sales , and like the ignition keys affected GM’s: barely.

Sure, there will be a dip in U.S. sales. A stop order on diesel sales should show up somewhere. But a la longue, a failed U.S. (and Chinese) model policy will ruin VW’s sales much more than feigned outrage about cheating.

The trouble is: Nearly no-one, big media included (as seen above) does fact checking anymore. People read headlines and tweets. And it is our fault as journalists if we confuse them more than they already are.