VW Diesel Scandal Erodes Trust In Germany, Auto Industry Too


2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

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The revelation that Volkswagen used "defeat device" software to cheat on U.S. emissions tests shook the public's confidence in one of the world's largest carmakers.

Volkswagen hasn't done much to rebuild its reputation since its cheating was first revealed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a press conference in September.

And VW may not be the only carmaker whose reputation has been hammered by the scandal.

DON'T MISS: BMW Admits VW Emission Scandal Hurts All Diesel Sales In U.S.

The Volkswagen emissions scandal has cast a pall over the entire auto industry, particularly other German carmakers, according to a recent survey conducted by AutoList.

The research firm surveyed 2,387 U.S. car owners. That sample included owners from all 50 states, and wasn't limited to VW owners.

German auto executives and the industry at large have worried about the potential impact of the scandal, and the survey results indicate their fears may be justified.

2016 BMW 328d

2016 BMW 328d

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The survey showed that public trust in the auto industry as a whole is down 12 percent.

Trust in German engineering quality was down 18 percent, while confidence in the quality of Volkswagen models slid 27 percent.

Naturally, Volkswagen itself was viewed the most harshly.

ALSO SEE: VW To Release Diesel Cheating Report At April Annual Meeting

Willingness to buy a Volkswagen was down 28 percent since before the scandal, while the perception of VW's environmental consciousness took a 47-percent hit.

In fact, 25 percent of survey respondents went so far as to say that Volkswagen's emissions cheating was equal or worse in severity to the 2010 BP oil spill.

And when evaluating the use of "defeat device" software in terms of environmental impact, 62 percent of respondents assigned it the highest severity rating.

2015 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec

2015 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec

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When viewing the scandal as a legal infraction, 66 percent of respondents assigned the highest severity rating.

It seems Volkswagen still has plenty of work to do to earn back the public's trust.

The company's plan to release a report explaining how the diesel-cheating scheme began at an April shareholders' meeting could help in that regard.

MORE: Supplier Bosch Defends Diesels, Blames VW, Investigates Internally

But actually addressing the roughly 500,000 non-compliant TDI diesel vehicles in the U.S. would be even better.

Unfortunately, Volkswagen appears no closer to starting a U.S. recall of the affected cars.

Its proposed fix for 482,000 2.0-liter four-cylinder models was rejected by regulators last month; a revised proposal was due yesterday.

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