VW’s moral and ma­te­rial mantra

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Inside Line -

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.

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