The European Union has given Volkswagen AG 10 days to explain irregularities recently discovered regarding carbon emissions, but company executives say identifying a fix needs to come first.
“I understand the desire for speed, but what matters to us instead is to work thoroughly and to not give out false premature results,” said Volkswagen Brand Sales Chief Juergen Stackmann.
He made the comments at a panel discussion last Tuesday, adding:
“What’s at stake at the moment is not to find out why people did something, that will be revealed by the investigations,” he said. “What matters to us primarily is that we can offer full transparency to our customers at this point. Without the trust of our customers, VW would have never become a great brand.”
Stackmann’s comments mirrors the five priorities freshly set by Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. At the top of the list is helping customers currently affected by the diesel scandal.
“Our customers are at the core of everything that our 600,000 employees worldwide do,” Müller said.
VW’s investigations come second, regarding both the original emission defeat device along with the new discovery of “irregularities were found when determining type approval CO2 levels.”
“We must uncover the truth and learn from it,” said Müller of the inquiries.
Restructuring the company – which may include actions such as cross-brand strategies, realigning the company’s values and aiming for quality over quantity – comprise the remaining priorities.
VW’s efforts to boost relations with its customer have already begun with the offer of a goodwill package, revealed earlier this week. While some experts say the $500 gift card and $500 dealer credit is a good start towards repairing the company’s image, others are concerned that the gesture isn’t enough.
Steve Kalafer said he yet hasn’t heard from any customers taking advantage of the goodwill package at his dealerships in Flemington, New Jersey.
“They will appreciate the communication, but I imagine that until a real resolution is found that appreciation will be muted,” said Kalafer.
Volkswagen has not yet said how or when it plans on repairing the vehicles.