Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle believes any impact on the company's resale values will be “absolutely minimalised” in the wake of the diesel emissions saga.
Speaking with Australian media yesterday, Doyle updated us on the situation, saying the Volkswagen Group’s headquarters was still working on the technical solution to getting its Euro 5 EA189 diesel engines to meet overseas emissions requirements.
Doyle, who said he and his staff had been working late into the night for weeks with Germany to get clarity on the issue from an Australian perspective, also offered his “sincere apologies” to affected owners and all Audi customers.
When we asked Doyle how the company would keep its residuals from being hit hard, he said the immediate priority was instead getting the roughly 16,000 affected Audi Australia vehicles rectified, and keeping customers informed, but weighed in.
“It’s our objective to make sure we do everything we can to maintain and assist where possible customers wishing to trade that car,” he said, but pointed out again that the affected E189 vehicles remained “completely safe to drive”.
“[I] Can’t give you any impact just yet."
Asked if he expected Audi resales to be hit, he said: “I don't believe so". “As I said, the function of vehicles, the safety, is not impaired.”
Doyle added the he didn’t wish to downplay an issue the company took “extremely seriously”, but said that once the announced recall began, it would become a “normal recall situation”.
“The track record shows we get through recalls in an efficient manner and will do again. I believe at this stage that any impact on that will be absolutely minimalised,” he said.
As we know, most of the Audi recall will comprise software updates, though some 1.6-litre TDIs (about 4-5 per cent of the total 16,000) will in all likelihood need hardware changes. The company globally is expected to rollout the work from early 2016.
Doyle also addressed the question of whether Audi Australia has seen customers attempt to return their vehicles.
“There’s been discussion, we’re talking to dealers and customers on daily basis about that,” he said.
“Of course we’re, as best we can, assuring them there’s no safety-related issue. But at the end of day if there is that demand from a customer, [we assist] as best as we can in normal situations, and in this extraordinary situation.”
As we know, Audi has announced a recall of all affected E189 vehicles, like Volkswagen Group Australia (run as a separate business locally), and has stopped the sale of affected vehicles. The next mission was to "repair any broken trust”.
Affected new vehicles include the 2.0 TDI A4, A5 and Q5, cars that make up about 8 per cent of Audi Australia sales. The company has been offering full refunds to buyers who had these cars on order and hadn't taken delivery yet, or talked them into other (mostly petrol) variants which are unaffected.
The company’s 1800 50 AUDI information line is also staffed 24/7, and has up to 12 full-time staff on call. The company will have sent direct correspondence to all affected owners inside days. It is also working with the relevant government departments and the ACCC.
Doyle said he has not heard from law firm Maurice Blackburn, which is expected to launch a class action suit.
Read all about the Volkswagen Group diesel emissions saga here.