The Strategist

Japan Automakers are Affected by 'Diesel-Gate'; Germany is Under Threat Too

09/24/2015 - 15:05

This morning, the Japanese Nikkei index fell nearly 3% after investors have arranged the sale of Japanese automotive companies’ shares. Market participants fear that the scandal surrounding the Volkswagen, caused by the concealment of the exhaust, may have a negative impact on the Japanese automotive market. Meanwhile, some analysts have expressed fears that the scandal with Volkswagen could harm the German economy not less than the Greek crisis did.

Automobile Italia via flickr
Automobile Italia via flickr
Shares of major producers of cars and car parts dragged down Nikkei index. Mazda’s quotes fell down by 7,2%, Nissan - by 2,6%, Honda - by 4,4%, Toyota - by 1.5%. Quotes of the leading manufacturers of diesel engines components- firms Ibiden and NGK Insulators - fell by 3.3% and 8.3%, respectively. As a result, the entire Nikkei trading results dropped to 2.76%. Investors feared the uncertainty surrounding the possible consequences of the scandal with Volkswagen, assuming that it can reduce consumers' confidence in the diesel models, which in turn will hit the automakers’ sales.

Experts disagree about the impact that ‘Diesel-Gate’ can have on the Japanese car industry. Goldman Sachs analyst Daiki Takayama believes that Japanese auto manufacturers’ share of sales to Volkswagen is not bigger than 10%, so the scandal will have a limited impact. In turn, Morgan Stanley analysts suppose that "if the scandal leads to significant financial problems and fines for Volkswagen, it can have an impact on the price of automotive components, which will affect the Japanese manufacturers."

The scandal surrounding one of the largest car manufacturers in Germany and around the world can affect the German economy as well. Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING, said in an interview with Reuters, that if the scandal hit the sales of Volkswagen and its subcontractors, it may affect the German economy’s dynamics not less than the crisis over Greece. "If Volkswagen sales in the United States fall in the coming months, it will have a negative impact not only on the company but also on the German economy as a whole. Surprisingly, Volkswagen began to represent for the German economy a risk even greater than the debt crisis in Greece", - the expert believes.

September 23, CEO of German automaker Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, left his post because of the scandal around hiding data on VW exhaust. The company has not yet announced his successor, yet the name of the head of Porsche AG Matthias Müller is mentioned most often in this regard.

September 18, the US government accused the Volkswagen Group in installation of car software that allows bypassing rules adopted in the United States on emissions to the environment. According to Deputy Director of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cynthia Giles, "in other words, in these cars was installed software that turns off the emissions control and cleaning system during normal driving and switches off when being checked on the composition of the exhaust." At the same time, the agency stated that the practice, which the German concern used in the United States between 2009 and 2015, could cost the company $ 18 billion as a penalty.