VW’s moral and material mantra
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. Jeremy Clarkson, soon to front Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour, has revealed his top 10 drives for the year: Mazda MX-5, Alfa Romeo 4C, AMG GT S, Ford Focus RS, Ford Mustang GT, Volvo XC90 D5 AWD, Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (which he hails as the world’s most comfortable car), BMW M2, Ferrari 488 GTB and Lamborghini Aventador.