Face is a key part of Japanese culture, so despite the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal not directly affecting any models sold here at the Tokyo motor show, the collateral damage to the brand here is still huge.
I’ve heard a rumour that Volkswagen has canned its press conference completely at the upcoming Los Angeles motor show to avoid a press pack that can smell blood, but that wasn’t an option here in Tokyo. Music had to be faced.
VW Japan boss Sven Stein opened his address to the world’s automotive media with an apology. And quite a long one at that. He even said the word sorry a lot.
VW, which has sold 600,000 vehicles in Japan in more than 60 years in the territory, doesn’t sell diesel models here, but had intended to do so. Stein said that was now on hold, pending a review. No surprises there. “Japanese customers must feel confident in VW,” he said.