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Emissions scandal fails to dent VW brand appeal

Steve Huntingford, What Car?

The emissions scandal has failed to dent Volkswagen Group brand residual values – or consumer used car appeal.

 A year ago this week news of Volkswagen using a defeat device to alter the results of emissions tests broke.

But despite the widespread media coverage sales of VW Group cars have not dropped and second-hand models have not plummeted in price - the Volkswagen Golf and Polo still among the top 10 cars sold so far this year.’s depreciation database, which helps motorists calculate how much money their car will lose based on age and mileage, shows VW, Audi and Skoda models retain above average value after three years and/or 36,000 miles.

The lack of depreciation is borne out by the UK public’s view of the mainstream VW Group brands (VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat). A survey* conducted by shows that three in five motorists (59%) are just as likely to buy from VW brands as they were before the scandal.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford (pictured) said: “I’m sure there are motorists out there who were rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of used VW prices falling off a cliff because of the emissions debacle.

“That simply hasn’t come to pass, however, and while the VW story continues to rumble on a year after the story first came to light, the Golf and Polo are still among the most popular new cars in the UK and are holding above average value.

“What this reflects is the fact that, although VW has cheated and undoubtedly still has a job to do to retain the trust of its customers going forwards, it still makes cars that consumers want to buy.”

Overall, VW models retain 42.21%** of their original value now, down 2.7% compared with just before the scandal broke.

Audi models have depreciated a similar amount in the same timescale, dropping from retaining 47.58% of their original value in July 2015 to 44.72% in June this year, a fall of 2.9%.

Seat and Skoda models have also depreciated post-scandal, but only by negligible amounts, with drops of 0.46% and 0.43% respectively.

However, across the automotive industry as a whole, there has been a dip in residual values of slightly more than 2% for all manufacturers, meaning that the VW Group brands are reflecting the market standard.

Overall, across all car makers, the average residual value for a three-year-old car and/or 36,000 miles is 41.69%.

*The survey used responses from the Haymarket Motoring Panel which consists of 4,000 respondents drawn from readers of What Car?, Autocar and Pistonheads

**All data taken from July 2015 and June 2016

Model analysis of VW diesel cars pre and post-emissions scandal (three years/60,000 miles) July 2015 v June 2016

1. VW Golf 2.0l TDI BMT 110kW EU6, six-speed manual gearbox     

Pre-scandal        47.59%

Post-scandal      45.65%

Difference          -1.94%

2. VW Passat Variant 2.0l TDI SCR 4Motion BMT 176kW EU6, seven-speed (DSG)

Pre-scandal        41.47%

Post-scandal      40.24%

Difference          -1.23%

3. VW Scirocco 2.0l TDI BMT 135kW EU6, six-speed manual gearbox             

Pre-scandal        51.70%

Post-scandal      50.54%

Difference          -1.16%

View: Monthly sales and market share for 2016 v 2015 (Source: SMMT and AMi)


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