New emissions testing rules are causing serious problems for VW in its home market.
Just half of Volkswagen's existing model lines have been approved for emissions under new WLTP regulations, according to reports from Europe.
"The new tests are more cumbersome and take two to three times longer than in the past. Even limited edition models need to be tested separately,” Thomas Zahn told journalists. “The coming months will be challenging for us.”
The upshot of the delays is, according to Zahn, extended delays on popular model lines. Deliveries for some Golf variants have been pushed back by six months, leading to significant frustration among customers and dealers. Autocar reports the average lead time for the Golf has blown out to 14 or 15 weeks, up from six or 10.
Top-selling versions of the Golf are among those not yet certified, with Volkswagen running its test bench around the clock to get them approved. The entire Golf range is expected to be ready for sale by the end of September, while higher-volume variants will likely be ready within a fortnight.
Volkswagen reportedly has a stockpile of cars at its factories around Europe, and has rented space at Berlin's unopened international airport to hold vehicles that have already been sold, but can't be delivered until type approval is achieved.
The impact of WLTP has already played out locally for Volkswagen, with fewer trim levels being offered across a number of model lines Down Under. There will be no manual Golf R or GTI for 2019, while the base Golf 110TSI has been culled as well.
The Passat line-up also saw changes earlier this year, with the 140TDI diesel dropped along with the 206TSI sedan.