Earlier this month, the head of VW cars in the UK apologised “unreservedly” for “significantly” letting down its customers in the diesel emissions scandal. It came just days after the US boss of VW made a “sincere apology” over the scandal which has affected more than 11 million cars worldwide.
With an estimated 3.3 million Audi and Škoda cars being caught up in the issue, and an increasingly disgruntled customer base, just what has Škoda done to inform them of what the company plans to do to to fix the problem?
On the Škoda website it states that “we will do everything necessary to win back the trust of our customers, partners and the public”.
If that’s the case I can only imagine that there is a lot more to come than the letter it is sending out to the unfortunate owners of Škodas affected by the Volkswagen emission scandal.
For starters, the letter doesn’t even acknowledge the recipient’s name or gender. It’s not exactly apologetic either and you can pretty much sum up the entire letter in a sentence: “Your vehicle is affected and we will write again when we know how to sort it.”
I’d want to know if my tax will be affected or more importantly if I’m due any compensation. It does say that “the repair will be sorted at no cost and minimum inconvenience”…which provokes a reaction of “I should bloody think so, too”.
Admittedly, the best letter in the world is not going to reverse the negative PR created by the biggest scandal to ever hit the car industry. But I can’t help thinking it’s all bit of a missed opportunity. Yes, opportunity.
You’ve a pretty captive audience. I bet you that they’d be more than willing to provide the most up-to-date details. It would provide you with valuable data to use now (so you can do more than a Dear Sir or Madam letter) and in the future (sales might be about to take a bit of a knock).
I reckon you can achieve the kind of data cleansing that would usually require you to incentivise people. Which is one – albeit small – way of recouping some of the $7.3bn that it is estimate this scandal is going to cost Volkswagen.
Shaun Moran is founding partner and creative director of Soul London