Volkswagen has reportedly announced price cuts in Japan that could take up to almost US$1,500 off the price of its Golf model as it looks to win back customers amid the ongoing adverse publicity from its emissions testing scandal.

The Nikkei news agency reported that VW has suffered weak sales in Japan following the scandal and is positioning the price cuts as part of a new marketing project to regain people's trust.

However, the report also noted that none of the diesel models embroiled in 'desielgate' are offered in Japan. Nevertheless, VW sales in Japan fell by 18.8% in 2015 and sales have continued to struggle in 2016.

"The perceived value of the VW brand is starting to decline compared to that of other imported vehicles," an employee of a Tokyo VW dealership told Nikkei.

Historically, German brands have dominated new car import sales in Japan, helped by a strong perception of German engineering prowess and quality. Some industry observers point out that cutting VW prices could undermine the image of the brand.