8 Things Everyone Wants To Know About The Volkswagen Scandal
Bernstein's Max Warburton outlined eight questions that investors are asking following the emissions scandal that caused the company to oust its CEO on Wednesday. That is a move that Warburton called when he said that a management change at VW was "inevitable."
The 'End Of Diesel'
Critically, Warburton also said that he believes this scandal signals the "end of diesel." Among already increased scrutiny, this news will act as a catalyst for the fall in diesel's market share in Europe and a halt in market share in the United States. Tougher tests will either be prohibitively expensive or too difficult for diesel cars to meet, Warburton predicted.
Reiterating Outperform Rating
Finally, Warburton reiterated the firm's Outperform rating on the stock and a price target of €200 on the European shares. However, in discussing the 30 percent selloff, he added that only "brave investors" should venture into shares – with much of the future still in doubt.
Warburton did, however, compare this scandal to BP plc (ADR) (NYSE: BP)'s Horizon leak – noting that shares there only dipped 50 percent.
The Other Five
Here's how Bernstein is approaching the other five critical issues:
- Might VW have been doing something similar in Europe? Bernstein said yes, though Warburton noted that the European standards were easier with less of a "need to cheat." Regardless of whether VW was breaking the rules, Warburton suggested that it would lead to tougher tests across the globe.
- Will other OEMs be affected in Europe? The "whole industry is likely to face a rapid increase in test standards, intensity and enforcement," despite the view that VW is unlikely to be fined or prosecuted in Europe.
- Are other OEMs likely to have used similar tricks in the United States? Bernstein said that the "cynicism is probably now warranted," but that other automakers were unlikely to use software fixes.
- Will VW be affected in China? Since almost all of the cars sold in China are gasoline, not diesel, Bernstein does not see China as an issue for the company.
- Could the total number of cars impacted be more than 482,000? Warburton said that the final tally might exceed the 482,000 – but it's unlikely to be a meaningful increase. The EPA's official notice warned of 518,000 VW and Audi cars at fault – with the risks of a widened investigation being low.
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