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Slowly, VW Continues To Recover From Dieselgate Scandal

Slowly, but surely Volkswagen seems to be turning the corner as it comes out from under the weight of its self-inflicted diesel emissions scandal and things look better. Tuesday, Consumer Reports noted that Audi and Porsche were the top two designees on its Consumer Brands Report Card.
Posted: February 28, 2017 - 11:04PM
Author: Marc Stern

Lately, things have been going fairly well for Volkswagen. Following 2015 which saw the automaker smash up on the rocks of a diesel emissions scandal of its making. And, 2016 that saw the automaker swimming circles and trying to tread water, at times, as the waves of its self-inflicted scandal kept on washing over. Things have begun to turn VW’s way.

VW’s Fortunes Turn Around

For example, VW’s Golf was named Canada’s “Car of the Year” a couple of weeks ago. And, the automaker achieved its goal of becoming the world’s number one automaker, knocking Toyota off that perch a couple of months ago. VW continues to hold the place. And, now, its run of good news continues as Consumer Reports (CR) has designated two of its makes, Porsche and Audi, numbers one and two on the publication’s Brand Report Card. Also, Porsche has had all of its vehicles win the magazine’s coveted recommended designation. Other makes winning the recommended classification included BMW and Mazda. This is the second year that Mazda received that honor.

Taking the third position on the Report Card is Tesla, which bounced Buick from that spot. Buick had held third for the last three years. It is still in the top 10 makes.

To rate the vehicles, CR uses a combination of:

  • Road test performance
  • Predicted reliability
  • Owner satisfaction
  • Safety results

Using the raw scores, CR’s team of automotive experts averages the results to determine which cars are the best. CR’s experts looked at and ranked 31 brands. To be rated, a make must have at least two models on the list of vehicles tests. For this reason, Alfa Romeo, Genesis, Maserati, Ram and Smart had no place in the rankings.

Automotive News Tuesday discussed CR’s findings. The trade paper found that there was no change in the top five brands. However, there were some moves in relative positions. For instance, Audi remained in the top spot this year, while Porsche moved up two spots and moved into second place. BMW was also up two spots, moving from fifth to third, while Lexus dropped one rating to fourth. Subaru dipped three spots, moving to fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Kia, Mazda, Tesla, Honda and Buick.

Changes In Reliability Caused Moves

CR, discussing movements in brand rankings, said the changes in reliability and different road tests caused rankings to move.
“Subaru dropped from second to fifth place because the previously very reliable Legacy and Outback are now rated only average, and the WRX/STI dropped to below average,” the publication said in a statement.

Turning to the other end of the ratings, CR noted that Fiat Chrysler Autos (FCA) was on the bottom part of the listings. Fiat, for instance, was last on the list. Jeep’s number 45th place and Dodge’s 56th spot were above Fiat with Mitsubishi and Land Rover in between Dodge and Jeep.

There were some interesting findings on the road test portion of the program. Some FCA vehicles were among the best road-test performers. Indeed, in this area, its vehicles topped Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. If FCA’s vehicles had been better in other areas, they would likely have moved off the bottom of the listing.

Chrysler On Right Track

Jake Fisher, director of CR’s auto testing program, said in a statement that “Chrysler is on the right track with the capable and sophisticated new Pacifica minivan, which is a real standout. If the company can spread that quality throughout its fleet and improve its uneven reliability, its ranking in our annual analysis could continue to rise.”

In other related news, Acura, Infiniti and Cadillac were among the other big gainers this year. Each brand jumped six spots. Acura rose to 13th spot, Infiniti rose to 16th place and Cadillac moved a tad to 18th spot.

Source: Automotive News