The German manufacturer last week announced a voluntary recall of 33,941 cars across its Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda brands to repair a defect with the vehicles’ seven-speed ‘DSG’ dual-clutch automatic transmissions that can lead to a loss of engine power.
The recall does not, however, address the issue that first sparked a raft of customer complaints – the inquest into the death of 32-year-old Melbourne woman Melissa Ryan, whose Volkswagen Golf GTI, equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, purportedly displayed a similar loss of engine power before being hit from behind by a truck.
But Volkswagen Australia public relations manager Kurt McGuiness said the manufacturer does not believe any problems exist beyond the vehicles equipped with its seven-speed DSG, and said it has no plans to investigate any other vehicles such as those fitted with manual or six-speed dual-clutch gearboxes.
“From the information we have, we have no plans [to investigate other drivetrains],” he confirmed.
“The correlation between diesels and DSGs with the car involved in the inquest, which was a Golf GTI manual… we refuted the correlations.
“That’s pretty much all that we can really say. Obviously we will wait for the coroner’s findings at the end of next month.”
McGuiness did, however, insist that it was far from “job done” from Volkswagen’s point of view now that the DSG recall has been issued.
“To be perfectly honest, if there is even one customer concerned as a result of these reports then we have a duty to respond to that, and we will respond to each customer on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
McGuiness highlighted three services accessible by all Volkswagen owners intended to provide them with all the available information and additional peace of mind: a telephone hotline (1800 504 076), a recall FAQ page on its public website, and the offer of complimentary vehicle checks for all Volkswagen owners at all dealerships around the country.
“We want to be transparent, we want to be forthcoming and say, ‘These are the details, this is the information, we’re not hiding’,” he said.
“We have initiated this as a voluntary action, this is what we’re going to do, and we’re here to help.
“I’m beating the drum a fair bit about customer service, but for us that is the genuine concern in all of this, we want to deal with those customers.”
McGuiness said he was not in a position to say whether Volkswagen Australia had any plans to increase its new-vehicle warranty from three years to five to give new customers additional peace of mind, but insisted the company remained confident in its cars.
“We think that’s a really good thing for our customers to know, that we’re standing behind our products,” he said. “This recall does not affect any of the vehicles that we are selling right now.”