Blog: Graeme RobertsA bit of VW niggle Down Under

Graeme Roberts | 7 June 2013

Looks like a fair old row is brewing in Australia over alleged defects in VW models.

Trawl the internet and there is a fair bit of comment worldwide on issues with some VW engines and DSG twin clutch transmissions. A recent refusal to recall and fix DSGs in China prompted complaints from consumers. And there is form on these in the US, though VW did apparently address the problem with fixes and extended warranties.

VW has a long history in Australia, having once operated a full manufacturing factory there, even supplying assembly kits to other local markets, such as New Zealand. It went full import in 1976, selling the plant to Nissan which called time on it in 1992.

Reports of Germany 'gagging' the local VW unit won't go down well with Australians. If VW really does have a problem with some cars, it should 'fess up and offer a fix rather than stalling.

Standing by your product gives consumer confidence and word spreads. A few years back, Toyota GB recalled cars for a potentially 'sticky' throttle pedal even though the actual number affected was very small. Customer feedback was extremely positive and some dealers benefited from the unscheduled contact - some new cars were sold in the process.

In this internet age, word also spreads like wildfire, and not necessarily 100% accurately, when a product goes wrong and the maker appears to be trying to weasel out of responsibility. And recovering sales from that sort of hit takes much longer.


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