Timing is everything. While Volkswagen faces a multibillion-dollar crisis over the diesel emissions testing scandal, the motor group must be grateful for one thing — that the announcement didn’t come out a few days earlier.
Last Friday it was revealed the motoring mammoth had deliberately circumvented US Environmental Protection Agency laws on its so-called “clean diesel” models from 2009 to 2015.
The company has had to stop selling VWs and a number of Audis in the US; faces an $18 billion fine from the agency. Its share price has tumbled and governments from Europe to South Korea have begun investigations. CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned.
New Zealand has no local emission standards or testing, and instead relies on international standards, so if local vehicles contain the software it will not affect them in any way.
“This is not a technical issue,” said VW NZ’s managing director, Tom Ruddenklau, “it is a trust issue.”
Just a few days before the news broke, VW Group was revelling in positive media attention at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The group not only had taken over one of the 10 show buildings for its VW, Skoda, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley products but its Audi division had built its own futuristic pavilion.
But if the news had broken at Frankfurt, every single press event for the VW Group would have had the world’s media clamouring for answers.
It would have also filtered to other manufucturers attending the world’s largest motoring show.
The Frankfurt event had a notable feel of revival from the GFC and it wouldn’t have deserved such a derailment as we’re now seeing playing out around the world as markets question their diesel cars.