VW To Buy Back Cars And Learns Cost Of Lying

by Colin Shaw on May 6, 2016

The latest in the “Hoaxwagen” scandal reveals the price you pay for lying to consumers. (Hint: it’s not cheap!)

Volkswagen AG will buy back almost half a million cars from consumers that bought their 2.0-liter diesel cars sold in the U.S. This buyback agreement, described by Reuters as a framework deal, includes the Jetta Sedan, the Golf compact and the Audi A3 models sold since 2009. They will not be buying back the Audi and Porsche SUV models.

Although the stock price rose after the announcement, VW’s troubles are far from over. VW was responsible for cheating on emissions test for over 11 million vehicles worldwide. They are still facing a substantial civil suit from the U.S. Justice Department and criminal investigations around the world.

Not to mention what they suffer in the court of public opinion.

If there is anything the past year has taught us, it’s that car makers will do just about anything to sell cars. After news of the Volkswagen fuel efficiency broke,Fiat Chrysler was fined millions by not addressing safety defects in their and not disclosing these defects to consumers. Mitsubishi joined in this week, by falsifying tire pressure figures to enhance their mileage rates.

The New Hoaxwagen: Mitsubishi Lies on Fuel Efficiency Standards

In a press conference this week, the leadership team admitted they intentionally faked the tire pressure readings to get better mileage performance numbers. The falsified mileage affected 625,000 cars, including Mitsubishi’s eK Wagon and eK Space, and also Nissan’s Dayz and Dayz Roox. The cars are mostly sold in Japan.

Now, with Mitsubishi, the third scandal involving lies from a major car brand in less than a year, it sends the message that carmakers are not to be trusted.

But the lying doesn’t stop with the manufacturers. When I bought my car last year, the dealer lied to me, too. This shows to me how lying can be endemic throughout an industry, and it starts at the top. The dealer thinks, “Hey! The senior team does it, so it’s Ok for us to do it, too!”

As Customer Experience consultants, we can tell you that trust is an important thing for a Customer Experience. If you can’t trust the brand, you can’t trust the brand promise. Chances are, you aren’t going to carry on being a customer either.

As for me, I don’t drive a Mitsubishi or Volkswagen but I am a car customer. The more of these cases that appear in the headlines, the more suspicious I become of ALL carmakers.

Dear Automakers: Quit Lying!

To quote a famous automaker, Henry Ford, “Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.”

In every Customer Experience, customers feel emotions that reflect on their memory of the experience. Back in 2005  we researched which emotions drive value ($$$) and which ones destroy it. We discovered every organization has anEmotional Signature®, which is the level of emotional engagement an organization has with its customers and a tool we use in our Customer Experience Consultancy.

We would give VW some free consultancy: Stop lying to customers and look to evoke more positive emotions from your customers.

Carmakers need to take a step back and figure out what it is they are selling. Is it an outstanding fuel efficiency rating or the idea that consumers can trust their cars are what the manufacturers say they are? Do they want their customers to be happy and pleased with their purchase or disappointed and frustrated that they have been lied to…again! Carmakers can keep lying to boost their performance numbers, but it’s on the sales lot where the rubber meets the road.

How do you think this latest scandal will affect carmakers as a whole? I’d be interested to hear your opinions in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Fiat Chrysler: The Latest Car Brand to Wreck Consumer Trust

Losing Customers Trust is the Worst Penalty VW Will Face

8 Worst Mistakes You Don’t Want to Repeat

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawVW To Buy Back Cars And Learns Cost Of Lying