Volkswagen has slumped to a loss of €3.5bn, its first quarterly loss in at least 15 years, as the company counts the cost of the emissions-rigging scandal.

The news came as the company’s new boss, Matthias Müller, heads to China alongside Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on Wednesday.

He said in a statement: “We will do everything in our power to win back the trust we have lost.”

The German carmaker posted an operating loss of €3.48bn in the third quarter against a profit of €3.2bn a year earlier. The loss is broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts.

The company took a €6.7bn charge to cover the cost of recalling 11m vehicles which contain software to cheat emission tests, up from the €6.5bn it had previously set aside. Sales rose by 8.5% to €160bn.

VW’s chief financial officer, Frank Witter, said: “The Volkswagen Group has very solid and robust liquidity resources. This will help us manage the challenging situation caused by the financial impact of the diesel issue.”

However, the company warned that sales volumes would be flat this year.

At the Tokyo motor show two top Volkswagen executives apologised for the scandal. The new chief executive of the Volkswagen brand, Herbert Diess, and the head of VW’s Japanese division, Sven Stein, bowed for several seconds in a Japanese style of apology.

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