By Ovunc Kutlu
NEW YORK (AA) - Volkswagen vehicle sales in the U.S. has declined compared to last year, while the German auto giant continues to struggle with an emission scandal, the company announced Wednesday.
In the first five months of 2016, Volkswagen (VW) sold 125,205 vehicles, down from 144,006 the same period a year ago -- a 13 percent decline.
Sales fell to 28,779 vehicles in May 2016, from 34,758 during the same month the previous year, marking a 17 percent decline.
VW has been under scrutiny since September when the Environmental Protection Agency claimed the carmaker manipulated emissions tests, causing pollution above regulations.
The company later admitted that 11 million of its diesel vehicles around the world had software that enabled it to cheat on the tests and said it had set aside a €6.5 billion (more than $7 billion) for damages.
A U.S. judge said in late April that American regulators and VW had reached a settlement, but details of the deal have not been finalized.
With declining sales, VW signaled its intention to diversify with a pivot to the online on-demand transportation industry.
The company announced last week that it made a $300 million investment in Gett, an online ride-hailing provider.
"Ride hailing will be at the center of our new ‘mobility on-demand' business, which we are building up as the second pillar alongside the classic automobile business," Matthias Müller, the chairman of the Board of Management of VW, said at an event in Berlin to kick off the new partnership.
Gett, formerly known as GetTaxi, was launched in Israel in 2010. It is now available in more than 60 cities including the U.S., the U.K. and Russia and has so far raised $520 million in venture funding.