It is now almost seven days since the VW emissions scandal broke. While it took days for momentum to build behind the story, I still find it sad that the company has so far made such little progress in identifying exactly where the 11 million potentially affected cars are, and what it means for owners of them.
To my mind, one of the first jobs VW must do in the wake of this debacle is rebuild customer trust, and I find its lack of communication with people who have bought its cars in good faith disappointing.
They must know which cars were fitted with this engine and which could potentially have the offending software as well. While I understand nobody wants to spread panic, I’d argue that the volume of queries from concerned owners arriving at Autocar and our sister brand What Car? these past few days suggests some information is better than none. It seems inconceivable that the issue won’t spread beyond the three named brands so far - Audi, Skoda and VW - but Seat is strangely silent.
So far we only have confirmation of how many cars are potentially affected, not where they are. While logic suggests that any cars in Europe and the UK affected are perfectly legal, having passed the different NEDC test cycle, it would be good to hear this message loud and clear from someone within the VW Group.
Owners also want to know what remedial work will be required. Again, in all likelihood the answer is none, because the cars are, so far as we know, perfectly legal. But, then again, owners might reasonably want cheat devices removed from their cars - they might argue their ownership is otherwise sullied. If so, what will the work involve, and will there be an alternative form of compensation?
I accept it must have been a terrible week for many people working for the VW Group who had no part in this scandal. And I am also sure that with so many lawsuits being threatened they are terrified about saying anything that could land them in even deeper trouble.
But my feeling is that they have been silent for too long. Amid the internal maelstrom they must start to look outwards to their customers once again.