It’s interesting, the inevitable surveys about whether people will now buy a Volkswagen Group car. Usually they centre on the fact that punters no longer have faith in getting a car as clean or economical as they first thought. Or that they simply don’t trust VW engineers any more.
But for me there’s more to it than that. Basically I do trust Volkswagen engineers. I think they are at the higher end of the scale in the automotive industry, undoubtedly helped by the – apparent – willingness of the higher management to embrace good engineering.
Of course it may be all smoke and mirrors, but it’s the reason why people are prepared to pay more for a VW Golf than a Vauxhall Astra, and very much more for an Audi A3, which does much the same job.
As I drove into work today in my 55-year-old Saab, I was passed by a three-door SEAT Ibiza (highly stylised) and then an Audi A1. I couldn’t help thinking how good the A1 still looks for a small car, and I know from six months of living with one that it was a very pleasing experience.
Yet would I buy either today? The SEAT, maybe, basically because I could get one cheaply. But the Audi? Well, I don’t know. It’s not the trust in the engineers that would put me off, nor the economy/emissions issue. It’s that fact that I would blatantly be buying into an expensive brand that had flicked two-fingers at the law. It would look arrogant and uncaring, and very difficult to justify to others if they quizzed you.
More on the Volkswagen emissions scandal on Motoring Research
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- SMMT says Volkswagen emissions scandal ‘not an industry-wide issue’
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