VW’s moral and ma­te­rial mantra

Herald Sun - Motoring - - INSIDE LINE - Tim Vaughan

VW Aus­tralia boss Michael Bartsch has gone on the front foot, urg­ing quicker fed­eral ap­proval for re­me­dial work af­ter last year’s Diesel­gate far­rago while vow­ing to con­test the class ac­tion that en­sued.

Poised to mark his first year in the top job, he aims to re­deem and re­po­si­tion the brand.

“Ap­proval packs for some 70 per cent of ve­hi­cles af­fected by the recall have been sub­mit­ted to the Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment, all of which have been in­de­pen­dently ver­i­fied,” he says, but Aus­tralia is the only coun­try that com­plies with EU emis­sions stan­dards in which these mea­sures are be­ing ques­tioned. “Yet as we have seen with the free soft­ware up­grade for the Amarok, this mea­sure causes no ma­te­rial changes to the fuel con­sump­tion, per­for­mance or driv­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of the ve­hi­cles af­fected.”

VW will con­tinue to de­fend the Fed­eral Court class ac­tion, which he de­scribes as “en­tre­pre­neur­ial lit­i­ga­tion”.

“We don’t be­lieve that we’ve bro­ken any Aus­tralian law. We have the best pos­si­ble so­lu­tion — that is the soft­ware up­grade.”

On the im­pact on the re­sale value of diesels, he says: “Last year resid­ual val­ues were un­der pres­sure, be­cause un­cer­tainty pre­vailed. If you look at resid­u­als now we see no ma­te­rial loss. ”

The repo­si­tion­ing is in line with VW’s pre­mium-for-thep­eo­ple mantra, which will bring a string of new mod­els and lim­ited edi­tions.

Mak­ing up for the gaps in its line-up, there will be a hand­ful of new SUVs over the next 30 months, start­ing with the new Tiguan in Septem­ber.

Imag­ine park­ing this at the sta­tion. The Praga R1R Su­per­sport, a road-go­ing ver­sion of the Czech-built R1 race car, is 100 per cent street le­gal. Only 68 ex­am­ples will be made. Weigh­ing just 670kg and pow­ered by a 290kW 2.0-litre turbo, the R1R blasts from 0-100km/h in un­der 3.0 sec­onds.

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