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VW emissions scandal: Industry fears more revelations

Published 30/12/2015

The emission scandal has cost Volkswagen billions of pounds
The emission scandal has cost Volkswagen billions of pounds

The diesel emissions scandal has dominated the motor industry in recent months and motoring experts believe the negative headlines to continue throughout next year.

Volkswagen admitted in September that it had fitted software designed to cheat emissions tests for nitrogen oxides in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, including almost 1.2 million in the UK.

No other manufacturers have come forward with a similar confession, but Auto Express editor-in-chief Steve Fowler believes there could be more revelations in 2016.

"The eyes are on the industry and there are all sorts of rumours flying around about other forms of defeat devices that are in use," he told the Press Association.

"If anybody has anything to hide they'll want to get it out quickly and be done with it rather than let it drag on."

Around 508,000 VW cars, 393,000 Audis, 132,000 Skodas, 80,000 VW commercial vehicles and 77,000 Seats in the UK are affected by the scandal.

Mr Fowler warned that the scale of the recall to carry out remedial work - which is due to begin next year - will lead to further accusations of wrongdoing.

"For Volkswagen things will rumble on, not least because the big problem of getting so many cars through dealers will happen and that undoubtedly is going to leave some people a little bit dissatisfied with the process," he said.

"It's going to be one hell of a task."

VW car sales fell by 20% in November compared to the same month in 2014, and Mr Fowler predicted 2016 is "going to be tough".

He added: "I think they will have to market their cars very strongly and they'll have to be doing offers, which is most un-Volkswagen like."

Volkswagen has set aside 6.7 billion euro (£5 billion) to deal with the controversy, leading Dr Mark Johnson, an a ssociate professor at Warwick Business School, to suspect that the company will sell off some of its luxury brands such as Lamborghini and Bentley.

He said: "They don't make much if any money so that might be a potential opportunity for Volkswagen to raise the kind of money that is expected to pay the fines being talked about."

Dr Johnson predicted a " grim few years ahead" for the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer.

"They have got it wrong on a number of fronts, especially around customer service," he claimed.

"VW and Audi, which are probably the two biggest selling brands within that portfolio, they have been able to charge premium prices with the expected premium service.

"But the way in which they have treated customers means that they are probably not going to get it back in the short-term."

Meanwhile law firms such as Leigh Day are hoping to make progress in bringing legal claims against Volkswagen on behalf of motorists.

Bozena Michalowska-Howells, from the firm's consumer law and product safety group, said many consumers have been unable to sell their cars for anything other than a "significant" reduction in price.

She added: " VW have stressed the need to win back customer trust.

"The only way for them to do that is to sit down with their customers' representatives to agree a package that appropriately compensates VW owners for the losses and inconvenience they have suffered, and the deceit that they consider themselves to be victims of."

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