There was a time when people believed that there was no such thing as bad publicity, all press is good press, the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about etc, etc. Well, Volkswagen would politely disagree.
The emission scandal that didn’t just cause a ripple but a whole tsunami of controversy for Volkswagen shows no signs of calming anytime soon. A survey conducted by consumer company AutoList recently reveals that the damage done to the automobile industry is widespread and not just reserved for Volkswagen, though they do bear the biggest brunt of the damage.
2,387 car owners in the United States were included in the survey, with samples including owners from all 50 states, and purposely not just limited to Volkswagen owners. Results pretty much confirm what most automobile executives feared; doing bad things make people think you’re bad. Just like the shocking revelation that water is wet, Volkswagen lying to their customers and deceiving environmental agencies meant that their perception of being an environmentally conscious brand took a massive forty seven percent hit. Not only that but willingness to buy a Volkswagen vehicle dropped a solid twenty eight percent, which is not to say that seventy two percent would still buy from the German brand but rather they never had intentions of buying from them or don’t really have an opinion either way.
Possibly the most worrying result for the carmakers is the startling fact that over twenty five percent of people believe the emissions scandal to be of equal or worse severity than the BP oil spill of 2010. Such is the force of the scandal that Volkswagen are not the only tainted name. The survey showed that trust in the overall automobile industry is down twelve percent and trust in German engineering quality was down 18 percent. Many feared that Volkswagen’s scandal could negatively impact on all diesel sales going forward, and BMW diesel-engine development chief Wolfgang Stütz was reported as expressing concerns for the future of diesel sales at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show as a direct consequence of Volkswagen’s actions.
Failing to produce any satisfactory reparation plans for cars affected in the United States, Volkswagen have become a role model to companies everywhere… on how not to handle a PR scandal. For once, we imagine a corporation is begging for the day when they don’t see their name in the news.