Majority still loyal to VW despite emissions scandal

Only 22% of owners say scandal has affected likelihood of repeat purchase, survey finds

More than three quarters of Volkswagen owners remain loyal to the German car brand despite the recent emissions scandal, with 78 per cent stating that it has not affected their likelihood of a repeat purchase.

A survey of almost 6,300 car drivers in Ireland by 123.ie has revealed that, when it comes to owners of other car brands, almost 54 per cent of non-Volkswagen owners said the scandal would not put them off buying a VW or one of its brands in the future. The results should offer some glimmer of hope for the embattled brand, which was back in the news in January as the US government stated its intention to sue the car giant over the scandal.

It emerged last September that Volkswagen had fitted 11 million of its cars worldwide with software designed to cheat US emissions tests. The cars affected – 116,000 of which were sold in Ireland – had 1.6-litre and 2-litre diesel engines and included models from Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW.

The 123.ie Great Irish Car Review shows that overall, car buyers in Ireland are a loyal bunch, with nearly two thirds (62 per cent) stating they will stick with their current brand, when changing car.

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The brands with the most loyal customers were Mercedes and Skoda (both 74 per cent) together with Toyota (73 per cent). Citroen, Opel and Renault, however, did not fare out as well with 50 per cent of current owners saying they were likely to stay with the brand when buying their next car, while only 28 per cent of Fiat owners say they will stick with the Italian car brand.

Reaction

“We’re surprised but not shocked by people’s reaction to the Volkswagen scandal,” said Padraig O’Neill, head of marketing at 123.ie.

“According to industry sales figures, there were more new VWs registered in Ireland in 2015 than any other passenger vehicle at 15,369 or 12.3 per cent of the market. And while Toyota outperformed VW in Ireland in December 2015, it still captured the number two slot for new car registrations in the final month of the year.

“So while the company’s share price and reputation has certainly taken a battering, this hasn’t necessarily translated into a decline in sales in Ireland and VW owners appear to be very brand loyal.”

Sales figures for the first 10 days of the market show the brand was in fifth place in terms of new registrations, with 7.8 per cent of the market, a rise on the first 10 days of last year but significantly down on the 12.3 per cent it had by the end of last year.

In total, the VW Group’s market share across its brands was down from 24.75 per cent in 2015 to 16.64 per cent in the first 10 days of this year.

For more details go to 123.ie