Okay, so Volkswagen’s scandal has been exhaustively covered. You can’t look anywhere on the interwebs without seeing something on it. But everyone’s been talking about Volkswagen as a brand and what will happen to it. No one seems to be talking about how this affects Audi, Porsche, Seat or Skoda. Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley will be fine as their customer base typically doesn’t care much about emissions while they buy V12 performance cars. But what about Audi, whose customers are pretty average folks?
As it turns out, 2.1 million Audi diesel vehicles were sold with the same “defeat device” as Volkswagen’s. Volkswagen’s reputation is taking a hard hit and the same could happen to Audi. This could be detrimental to a brand who just recently fully recovered from the damage done decades ago when Audi had a bit of trouble with unintended acceleration. It wasn’t until the late ’90s to early 2,000’s that Audi started getting its premium reputation back in tact. So will this scandal undo everything Audi’s done in the last few decades?
Audi is working incredibly hard to invent new technologies and bring in a younger clientele base. New technologies for both performance and economy have been pumping out of the four rings for the past couple of years. Just recently, Audi presented a killer showcase at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and showed the world what it was capable of. But that all goes out the window if customers find the brand to be deceiving.
The younger audience Audi is trying to gain is very fond of the environment, alternative fuel and clean air. Now, Audi’s reputation for those very things is somewhat tarnished. This scandal only affects a small portion of Audi’s lineup, as Audi ahs plenty of clean diesels and hybrid vehicles that are incredibly clean, but it doesn’t matter, the damage has been done. This is going to stain Audi’s image at least a bit, whether it’s justified or not.
It’s a shame if it does, however, because Audi is doing amazing work into crafting a better future. The e-tron Quattro Concept proves that Audi is investing incredible amounts of time and money into electric mobility and the A3 e-tron shows that Audi is ready to compete in the plug-in hybrid market right now. Audi is heavily invested in a clean sustainable future and this small speed bump should not be held against the four-ringed brand too much. Audi has done far more good than bad, even in light of this latest scandal and it’s unfortunate that it likely won’t be seen that way.