Although VW is the world’s largest and most trusted automotive brand, the recent emergence of a scandal surrounding attempts to cheat during emissions tests in the US has left a massive dent in consumer trust. People may now feel that they will now get a more honest experience from building kit cars and fitting third-party wiring looms than from mainstream car manufacturers.
The issue first arose in America, where it was discovered that VW had deliberately fitted a device to allow vehicles to detect when emissions testing was being carried out and thus artificially limit the amount of harmful gasses that were produced for a short period. It has now been announced that the UK will repeat tests already carried out on vehicles from this German firm.
The Penny Drops
With VW’s chief executive already having resigned over the issue and questions being raised about whether its competitors have been taking similarly questionable steps to pass increasingly strict emissions tests, this scandal threatens to impact the entire automotive industry around the globe.
It has even been discovered that not only are passenger cars impacted but also some VW commercial vehicles are coming under scrutiny, with over 11 million units in total thought to be affected internationally.
End of an Era
Many commentators have argued that VW will find it hard to recover from this incident, which appears to suggest that persistent and deliberate attempts were made by the company to falsify the results of emissions tests and thus put cars on the road that were producing far more harmful fumes than the marketing material suggested.
It is also expected that changes to the way in which emissions tests are conducted could lead to other companies, including the likes of Volvo and Renault, finding that their cars are incapable of achieving the necessary levels of cleanliness to be classified as fit for sale in the EU, North American and further afield.
For those who have had a longstanding loyalty to VW, perhaps investing in classics such as the Beetle or its camper van range and getting professionals such as rapidfitlooms to install parts to keep them running over the years, the firm’s tarnished reputation may be difficult to swallow.
It is the impact on sales of VW’s new vehicles that will really determine the company’s future as the scandal expands.