Volkswagen Australia wants satisfaction

Volkswagen Golf VI 118TSI

Volkswagen Australia boss John White has admitted the brand has an issue with customer satisfaction and has vowed to improve.

Speaking to Go Auto, White explained his theories behind the company’s image problem: “Number one was the recall situation, and we’re working our way out of that. Those problems we had with those cars are going away.

“From a network development perspective I think really part of the root cause we have had is our sales went up at a very high rate over the five years to last year and the infrastructure didn’t keep up.”

In our opinion Volkswagen Australia was unfairly targetted in a campaign by Fairfax Media last year which used the death of Melissa Ryan to gain exposure for ongoing customer dissatisfaction with the brand. There was never any reasonable link between the two stories.

The Victorian Coroner found there was no evidence to suggest any mechanical or technical issue from Ryan’s car, a Mk5 Golf GTI with a 6-speed manual gearbox, contributed to her death after she was hit from behind by a B-double semi trailer.

However, while Volkswagen was rightfully cleared in that instance, its response to and handling of the poor publicity collated by Fairfax was amateur at best and woefully embarassing at worst. Most of the complaints concerned the 7-speed DSG (DQ200) gearbox and eventually VW took its head out of the sand and issued a voluntary recall, which affected almost 26,000 vehicles.

But it was too little too late and the damage to its brand was well and truly done. It will take a long time and a committed effort from all Volkswagen Australia staff to win back the trust of the wider motoring public.

“It’s not one silver bullet but there are a lot of things you need to do to improve,” White added. “I fundamentally believe that the only way that we’re going to grow to the next level is to move up in terms of customer satisfaction, because from a loyalty perspective we’re fortunate because we still have high customer loyalty, but to retain them consistently over time you need to move up.”

White has established a customer satisfaction committee with his dealerships and imported staff from China to help implement the cultural change required.

A reduction in product offerings may also ease the burden on dealerships. A decision has been made to stop selling the Up and the Eos and Scirocco are likely to be next in the firing line.

[Source: Go Auto]

Safety Issues Volkswagen

It’s the hot weather, stupid

Volkswagen Golf VI

Volkswagen UK has felt the need to clarify a few things after being asked if they would join countries like Australia, China, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and the United States in carrying out a voluntary recall relating to the 7-speed DQ200 DSG transmission.

In short, the answer is: No!

“It is a problem that relates only to temperate countries with a high incidence of stop and start driving,” explained a VW UK spokesperson. “It requires a set of circumstances—humidity, temperature, dust and congested driving conditions—that we simply don’t see in the UK.

“We have robust systems in place to monitor potential problems and, although we have around 48,000 cars on the road equipped with DQ200 gearboxes, we haven’t seen any failures that we can attribute to this problem.”

Mechanically speaking, the specification of DQ200 transmission is the same for UK delivered cars as it is for models sold in Australia. There are country-specific software differences, though.

Volkswagen UK is at pains to point out that they have not received any complaints in line with the issues encountered in Australia. “The DSG mechatronics are programmed differently according to the country in which a vehicle will be sold,” a VW UK statement reads. “The issues recently experienced by some customers in Australia have not been repeated in the UK, nor indeed in other temperate countries.”

Volkswagen UK may very well be correct in their statement regarding the differing climate between the UK and elsewhere; we’re not suggesting it isn’t. However, prior to initiating their own voluntary recall Volkswagen Australia, too, fobbed off local complaints saying there were differences between Australia and other countries that had already issued recalls.

[Source: Autocar]