Our editor Jemima talks ‘That’ VW Scandal . . . Just one big PR headache? We think so!

If you haven’t heard of the current crisis Volkswagen are suffering, then you haven’t been following the news very closely!

A picture taken on September 25, 2015 shows cars parked at the logistics park of German auto giant Volkswagen in Villers-Cotterets. Volkswagen sank into its deepest crisis after it revealed that up to 11 million of its diesel cars had been fitted with devices designed to fool emissions tests, after US officials publicly accused the company of cheating and launched a probe into the claims. AFP PHOTO/FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on September 25, 2015 shows cars parked at the logistics park of German auto giant Volkswagen in Villers-Cotterets. AFP PHOTO/FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s a story myself and several others have been following, intrigued to see how the organisations communications team would handle the problem! (Being the PR lovers we can’t help ourselves!)

For those of you who need to start paying a little more attention to what’s been going on, let me give you a quick update… last week Volkswagen had to admit to fitting 11 million cars (loads right!) worldwide with ‘defeat-devices’, to ensure they out smarted emission tests! These tests are put in place for the general public’s safety, so you can imagine this didn’t go down too well…

ceo

Martin Winterkorn, former CEO of Volkswagen resigned after 4 days of the scandal, insisting there has been “no wrongdoing”, but would leave in “the interests of the company”.

However, there are also claims from Winterkorn that he accepts responsibility for the

“grave crisis”

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of problems for VW – the crisis is likely to result in further executive cuts and a German-based criminal investigation (oh dear, what a nightmare!)

Volkswagen couldn’t really expect to get away with such a stunt lightly – their 592,586 employees produce nearly 41,000 cars every single day! This is perhaps where most of the crisis stems from – such an enormous company can’t expect to avoid a crisis!

Some of you might be wondering from a PR perspective where everything actually fits into place within the big headache – let me explain!

PR is all about your reputation, brand and image… this crisis has well and truly dented all of these for Volkswagen – releasing conflicting statements from your CEO represents a panic stricken organisation, with something to hide!

It is reassuring to see that VW’s Vice Chairman Berthold Huber recognizes the damage done to not only the market, but the reputation of the company;

“We are aware of the economic damage that we have suffered, but above that the damage to trust among Volkswagen customers that has occurred”

Most of us here at the Fraternity are still awaiting any further developments in the case (we need to get examples for lectures from somewhere!) and we hope we’ve inspired you to think about more news stories in a PR related way!

If you want to read up on some more info from the crisis, the links below are really helpful!

http://www.prweek.com/article/1366631/vw-scandal-become-sector-wide-reputational-crisis-motor-industry 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/11905543/Volkswagen-crisis-Car-giant-removes-4000-new-diesel-cars-from-showrooms-in-Britain.html

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/volkswagen/92893/volkswagen-emissions-scandal-12m-uk-cars-to-be-recalled-still-no-answers-from-vw

That’s all from me for now – be sure to check out our next update where we’ll let you know how our pub quiz went, and how our President Siobhan got on when she met up with an industry professional!

Until next time…

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