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Study shows how Volkswagen brand has suffered after emissions issue

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Volkswagen’s cheating of the emissions tests has struck a blow to the public’s perception of its brand image, according to a study by YouGov BrandIndex UK.

The Volkswagen brand health was measured across four key indicators; index, buzz, quality, reputation and impression during the 10 day period between 18-27 September.

The results show that the public perception of the brand’s overall health saw the most dramatic decline, which is likely to be the most serious indicator for the brand according to Sarah Murphy, director YouGov BrandIndex UK.

Murphy said that “experience tells us that once this metric begins a concerted move south, a brand is in trouble as it points to it being more than a headline-generated storm in a teacup and instead being a real problem that is having a notable impact on all areas of its public perception”.

YouGov BrandIndex data has measured the immediate damage to brand perception caused by the scandal, showing a dramatic drop in ‘buzz’ scores (whether people have heard anything positive or negative about the brand) for both US and UK markets.

In the US, there has been a drop of ten points, from +10 to 0.

In the UK, VW has seen a decline from +5 to -13 in the last few days.

It is now the lowest ranked car brand in the UK in terms of ‘buzz’ (out of 34). This is a fall of 31 places in a week.

“It is basically a trust problem now, VW evidently lied to customers and the government so they are now not seen as a trustworthy company. This is compounded by the fact that their main selling point was strong, economical and environmentally friendly diesel engines.

"Once you take that out of the equation VW has lost much of its appeal,” said one independent marketing analyst.

Murphy added: "The next few days will tell us whether other YouGov measures show a decline. If metrics such as ‘Purchase Consideration’ see a drop, it could spell even more bad news for VW.

"Whether any impact will be felt by other brands will also be one to watch. Other car manufacturer’s testing results will now be examined to check for wrongdoing.

"Could it be a controversy that ends up implicating the industry as a whole?  And does it spell the death knell for the diesel market? With sales of diesel cars already slowing, is the sector moving on? The next few days are sure to be key in the shaping of the automotive industry." 

AM poll: Will the emissions scandal damage the reputation of the Volkswagen Group cars in the UK in the long-term?

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  • Ian - 29/09/2015 13:19

    Most social media shows positive comments for VW with statements like I didn't buy my VW for emissions, I would never change to another brand, these survey's are normally only answered by the type of person who would consider class action to see what they can get!

  • Nigel - 30/09/2015 11:41

    Really.....! What a pointless survey. Anyone with half a brain could have come up with the result that the VW brand image has been tarnished. Money for nothing....

  • Christine - 30/09/2015 11:45

    Isn't marketing great. Getting paid for stating the obvious.