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Volkswagen responds to reliability claims

Fast facts: Volkswagen says “sudden deceleration” was not a factor in a fatal crash involving one of its cars.

Media reports prompt VW Australia to offer free dealer inspection to owners

Volkswagen logo6 Jun 2013

Volkswagen Australia is offering free inspections to all owners with concerns that their vehicle may have reliability problems.

The offer, coming almost a week after a scathing series of media reports, is asking owners to visit a Volkswagen dealership for free inspections – although the offer does not outline what Volkswagen’s service technicians will look for.

In an open letter to customers, cross- posted on Facebook today, Volkswagen Australia managing director John White said safety was a priority for the car-maker since it first sold cars in Australia.

“For 60 years, the safety and peace of mind of Australians has been our highest priority. We continue to stand by the quality of our cars and the integrity of our engineering excellence in meeting this responsibility,” Mr White said.

“However, we understand the recent coverage has caused some concern for our customers. We feel the best way to demonstrate our commitment is with several immediate measures.”

The German premium car-maker has set up a hotline for customers to phone, and invited any other customers with concerns to visit a dealership.

““If you are a current owner or in the market for a Volkswagen and want any questions answered, we are here to help.

“We thank you for your support,” Mr White said.

Volkswagen’s move comes a day after the peak body representing motoring interest groups throughout the nation, the Australian Automobile Association, urged the company to come clean on any possible issues of public interest.

The German company has been the subject of numerous articles over the past week calling into question issues with the reliability of its cars, and is under pressure to issue a vehicle recall similar to those it has initiated in China and Japan.

A Fairfax Media story last Friday aired concerns from several Volkswagen owners in the wake of a coronial inquest into the death of 32-year-old Melissa Ryan, who died in 2011 after a truck ploughed into the back of her Golf on Melbourne’s Monash Freeway.

The inquest heard Ms Ryan’s Golf had unexpectedly slowed down to about 20km/h in the right-hand lane of the freeway shortly before the B-double truck slammed into the rear of her car, forcing it into the central barrier.

The coroner is expected to hand down a finding on Ms Ryan’s death later this month.

The media group later reported that the story had prompted several other Volkswagen owners to come forward with similar experiences of power loss.

Volkswagen’s full statement reads:For 60 years, the safety and peace of mind of Australians has been our highest priority. We continue to stand by the quality of our cars and the integrity of our engineering excellence in meeting this responsibility.

However, we understand the recent coverage has caused some concern for our customers. We feel the best way to demonstrate our commitment is with several immediate measures.

For peace of mind, we’re offering free inspections of your Volkswagen vehicle at any Volkswagen dealer throughout Australia.

We have also set up a dedicated Customer Care hotline on 1800 504 076 (available Monday to Friday from 8:30am - 5:00pm AEST) and email at vgasupport@volkswagen.com.au. Alternatively you can visit your local Volkswagen dealer.

If you are a current owner or in the market for a Volkswagen and want any questions answered, we are here to help.

We thank you for your support.

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