VW board member admits company reputation won't recover through apologies alone

The VW Group can only win back customer trust through its actions, starting with how it fixes the 5.6m cars affected by the NOx emissions scandal globally, according to Jürgen Stackmann, VW's board member in charge of sales, marketing and aftersales.

Asked at the Geneva motor show how long it would take VW’s affected brands to move on from the scandal, Stackmann said: “The indications from similar situations we have studied is 18 months, but it is never possible to know for sure. But we must not focus on that, we must focus on the wake-up call,  and show through actions that we can be trusted.

“The first way to do that is to carry out every service recall with the same, uncompromised quality. We understand the challenges: I visited our ten biggest fleet customers recently and spoke to them about the situation. Some of them have bought 25,000 cars from us - they are really big customers - and they expressed no doubts about the core qualities of the engineering on our vehicles. But it was clear they had higher question marks over the situation with our corporate culture.

“In the current climate we cannot think about being the world’s biggest car maker or other such things. Our one goal in 2016 is to regain the trust of customers by bringing their cars back to the right standards. That will be bloody hard work - they want the same noise, the same fun, the same fuel economy, the same everything, and that is what they must get.

“Obviously the end result of doing that well, and creating a culture where that level of service is ongoing, will create a stable platform from where the business can grow. But there are no shortcuts to that. For some people there will always be a lingering issue over this situation, and we must accept that.”

VW is still negotiating with US authorities as to how it will fix cars affected by the scandal, while its independent investigation into how the scandal unfolded is expected to be presented around June this year. So far, the company has set aside £5.2bn to cover the costs of the scandal, although some analysts predict that bill could triple.

Read more Geneva motor show news

    

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI 190 GT DSG
The new Volkswagen Passat is now in its eighth generation

The Passat wants to head upmarket. Does it have the substance?

Join the debate

Comments
5

2 March 2016

Thorough testing of technical innovations before release would help. The turbo/supercharged engine and dsg transmission are examples of this not being done.

2 March 2016

I have bought new VW's for 20 years, since the outing Of the vw scandal, my bluemotion caddy life's value is down by £4000 compared to my previous one (I was going to change it for another new one, until I was given a trade in price).

VW say this scandal will not affect their customers financially in anyway and they want us to trust them......
But, they have already said they haven't cheated, lied or broken the law in Europe......
And they have no intention of compensating Their Customers in Europe......

Actions speak louder than words, so VW, what are you going to do to gain my TRUST and my CUSTOM ? I've been a loyal customer to you, what am I going to get back from you ? Or are corporate customers more important to you than your loyal private customers ?

Feel free to get intouch if you really care......

From a extremely unhappy vw CUSTOMER.

2 March 2016

Its interesting to hear someone from Volkswagen talking about issues with the company's culture, something that motoring journalists and VW fans continually gloss over, preferring instead to emphasise diesel engines as the groups only problem. For some of us the attitudes and ethics of this big organisation are its main failing. I'd question the "core qualities of engineering", but probably this has been heavily influenced by the obsession with being number one and explains why they repeatedly rush things to market without developing them properly (diesel emissions is just another example of this impatience). Will they really start to show more respect for their customers, private and corporate, rather than expecting them to take the consequences for their short cuts? Only time will tell.

2 March 2016

American style. 20 years down the line under the FOI we will possibly find Toyota pulled the carpet from under their feet! Besides that - did any of this affect your performance, your reliability, you excellence in manufacture or your economy not to mention your safety? NO. So it is just another dirty game of being caught out. None of them are beyond the righteousness. Maybe, just maybe my comment about the carpet...think about it lol

what's life without imagination

2 March 2016

Actions speak louder than words but only in the USA. The gullible Europeans will have to be content with news drip from the mighty PR of the Volkswagen.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics
  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be
  • Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Plug-in petrol-electric Panamera makes a better case than ever to supplant the diesel best seller, but it still appeals more to the head than the heart