Volkswagen has used the unveiling of the revised Golf to update progress on its efforts to recover from the ‘Dieselgate’ emissions-cheating crisis.
Speaking during the reveal of the car at the brand’s Wolfsburg, Germany headquarters, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said that the Golf always represents the brand as a whole and the latest car marks a new beginning, a new momentum.
“Obviously the Volkswagen brand is facing pretty big challenges – first and foremost we have to regain peoples’ trust,” Diess said, adding that good progress on working out of the crisis had seen technical measures for more than 8.2 million of the 10m affected cars of the group approved by the relevant authorities. “We are strongly committed to gaining approval for all cars in Europe by the end of this year,” he added.
According to Diess 1.3m cars have already been fixed and the number is rising significantly every week, to the almost universal satisfaction of customers.
Sales are also recovering – down 1.8 per cent in July, European deliveries began growing again in August and in October were 4.4 per cent up, with 512,000 vehicles delivered. “I am confident that we will see an overall increase in deliveries for 2016,” he said.
Diess also stated that the brand’s transformation is making progress – “we are becoming more competitive, more efficient and more innovative, we have established a product line organisation within just six months. For most of the worldwide regions we have set up tough turnaround programmes that will start to pay off next year.
“Zukunftspakt (the name given to the turnaround plan) could become the biggest reform programme in Volkswagen’s history making the brand more competitive and future proof,” Diess added.
However the brand’s problems have not all gone away – in America, where the dieselgate scandal began, a new lawsuit on behalf of 10,000 car owners has claimed that the emissions cheating software was not limited to diesel vehicles but also fitted to Audi petrol-engined cars.
And German prosecutors have drawn VW Group chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch into the crisis, claiming that they have enough evidence to name him in the investigation into VW’s response to the scandal, on the basis that the group was too slow to inform markets.
Meanwhile Automotive News Europe has reported that the election of Donald Trump as the next US President is raising fears that talks to agree a fix for affected American VWs could be affected.
Diess, however, believes Volkswagen is gaining momentum, with 10 new models or major updates due next year alone, including a currently unnamed new Fastback and the next SUV, the Nissan Juke-rivalling T-Roc.
“By 2020 we will have renewed our entire product line-up, realising the greatest brand offensive ever,” Diess concluded. “The Golf marks the beginning – smarter, safer and more connected.”