8th January 2016
We are currently getting ready to welcome all of our Volkswagen drivers with cars requiring an upgrade, or fix, to align their NOx emissions to the prescribed and acceptable levels. This will start from the first week of March. All customers should have received a recent letter from Volkswagen outlining what happens next and to await instruction around when their visit will be necessary. At this point the UK Department of Transport is happy with progress and happy to have the fix done as part of the standard servicing regime. This is good news for all as it means we can affect the fix with the minimum of inconvenience to any customer with this issue. We are planning and readying ourselves to be very busy over this period.
The new year ushers in a new phase of this issue, and we are very aware of our responsibilities in ensuring that all of our customers, affected or not, are treated with unprecedented levels of care and professionalism, we really need to ‘up our game’. Volkswagen and Ridgeway Volkswagen within that, know we have a job to do, mostly to repair and regain confidence.
I also know that we have a job to do to keep order take running at a great level, and in Q1 2016 Ridgeway have supported the great offers that Volkswagen have to an unprecedented level and there really has never been a better time to buy a new or used Volkswagen. There is also a very attractive loyalty offer currently running that you our current customers can use for themselves, or for a member of their immediate family. To take advantage of these please discuss with one of our branches or keep an eye out here.
So, confidently into 2016 looking forwards and not backwards. Ridgeway Volkswagen understand their responsibility to get this year right, to be there positively for our customers. I hope you feel you can trust us to deliver a great level of service, and if you feel you need to discuss further, or even point us in the right direction, please contact me at: email@example.com
7th December 2015 - Update
“I visited the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg last week, and it was very interesting to get a view of recent events through their eyes. I was able to go on a factory tour deep into the beast that is the biggest factory, of any kind, in Europe. I was struck by the size and the scale of the plant, but also the positivity of all of the staff there. It really is an incredible place and I was encouraged to see and speak to some of the staff. What is clear is the scale of the operation and quality of the output. You can definitely trust that it has been a chastening experience for the staff to go through, but they are now all looking forward to the future with a fantastic motivation . As a Volkswagen distributor we have actually seen an increase in our new retail sales over the last 8 weeks. This isn’t really reflected by the national press announcing a 20% reduction in November, and although this is technically correct, this isn’t in the important channel of actually selling a car to a retail customer, but more of a restriction in the number of demonstrators and rental cars that the network has registered. The increase in ‘Ridgeway to Driveway’ is reflective of the superb offers that Volkswagen and ourselves have put together. There really has never been a better time (or ‘#NBABT’ as we are calling it).
There was some concern that CO2 emissions were in doubt in many cars also, this was in response to the original NOx concerns, and the desire to be completely transparent. The good news is that after the initial flagging of these cars for testing, the number of cars in the UK that could be affected is dropping every day. Through independent testing the Volkswagen group cars have performed excellently. Both Audi and Skoda have had their number reduce to zero, whilst Volkswagen are expecting to end up with 10,000 cars in total affected. This is significantly reduced.
Ridgeway Volkswagen still have a lot of work to do to assure our customers that we are the brand, and partner, of choice. However we are working very hard to make sure that is the case. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will endeavour to come back to you personally, and quickly. If you have anything on your mind please let me know.
27th November 2015 - Update
I am really pleased to announce that the fix for the vast majority of engines with incorrect NOx emissions readings has been ratified by the German Transport Ministry. After design and testing periods Volkswagen and the relevant authorities now have a correct and proper solution. The brief of the authorities was to implement a modern fix into these engines (some of which were designed 8 years ago) which did not affect any other characteristics. It is a testament to progress and new technology that the fixes are non-invasive, quick and relatively simple.
The 2.0L TDI engine requires a 30 minute (approx.) software update and the 1.6L TDI engine a small plastic insert to alter the flow of air in the engine. We expect this to take around an hour to sort. Both fixes are outlined in this excellent video produced by the factory.
The solution for the 1.2 is expected to be ratified in December and involves a software solution only.
Of the course of the next couple of months Volkswagen and Ridgeway will be providing more information about when the upgrades will take place, but we hope to do these as part of the standard servicing regimes of all cars to remove any inconvenience.
If you have any questions, please keep them coming, this forum has been an excellent provider of feedback and I will ensure any enquiry received gets an immediate and personal answer. Please email me at email@example.com
16th November 2015 - Update
I was asked by a customer the other day, “this must be dreadful for business?”. It was a great question as the current emissions issues are certainly creating a different working environment. I was pleased to hear the customers next sentence: “I loved Volkswagen way before a few engineers in white coats took some shortcuts, and I’ll love it in the future too”.
Fortunately most of our customers seem to be thinking along those lines. Yes, there have been some very genuine and valid complaints, the current emissions concerns are not good enough and a company like Volkswagen should be above such suspicion. We have been dealing with those on an individual basis and have made generally excellent progress with them. Our role is to reassure you, the customer, that Volkswagen is still a great brand that builds the best cars out there for the money.
Back to the effect on our businesses. After an initial drop in order take, our enquiries and sales have now returned to the normally expected levels for this time of year. In fact some branches are currently experiencing improved order takes as the brands actions and value proposition have reduced the cost, and improved the value of buying a new Volkswagen. With Residual Values holding up and in line with the normal trend for this time of year (a small early winter drop, usually followed with a stiffening in the new year), it makes a compelling reason to purchase at this time. Whilst this isn’t the forum to advertise our wares feel free to have a look elsewhere on the Ridgeway website.
I thought it would be appropriate to summarize the current emissions news. Originally a sizeable number of cars in the UK (508,000) were found to be fitted with defeat devices which changed the NOX emissions under testing. NOX is a regulated emissions gas in the USA. This is obviously concerning and unacceptable and Volkswagen have pledged to upgrade all cars as soon as possible. The majority of cars (2.0TDI and 1.2TDI) require a software upgrade to meet the required standards and the 1.6TDI (about a quarter of the effected cars) require a small hardware fix. These are currently being tested before roll out in 2016. At this point this is a ‘service action’ and can be carried out as part of a routine visit.
Whilst checking the rest of the house is in order, some small discrepancies in CO2 emissions have been found in a small number of vehicles (expected to be around 50,000 in the UK. These will require a re-classification of results and republishing of CO2 figures. The changes in CO2 are in the one’s and two’s and Volkswagen will underwrite any changes to RFL or company car tax for anyone effected. It is important to note that Volkswagen brought this information up straight away when it was found, to their credit.
Ridgeway are currently planning how we can best look after any customer with a service action. We will be increasing our opening hours, our courtesy fleet, our technician workforce to make sure any upgrades seem seamless and the experience is a pleasant one. All the Ridgeway Volkswagen staff are looking forward to seeing everyone, even some customers who haven’t been to us for a while. In the meantime I thank you personally for your patience, and re-iterate that it is business as usual and you can have a lot of faith in Ridgeway, and also in Volkswagen, especially in the future. If you have any questions at all you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally respond or send straight to the appropriate person.
19th October 2015 - Update
I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the latest development regarding the current emissions situation. There has been very little new of note over the last week, but be rest assured I want to bring it to you as soon as we have it.
The Chief Executive of Volkswagen UK, Paul Willis, answered questions at the Parliamentary ‘Select Committee’ last week, and he laid out the actions currently being taken in the UK. You can currently check online at www.volkswagen.co.uk if you have any questions of your car, or talk to us directly in branch. The Volkswagen HQ in Wolfsburg is currently finalising an acceptable upgrade and program of roll out with the German Department of Transport and the UK is monitoring this closely. If you have a car included in this action, you will be contacted shortly.
8th October 2015 – Update
In light of the recent news from the Volkswagen Group regarding European emissions tests, Volkswagen is working at full speed to resolve a particular software issue in some of its diesel engines. The Ridgeway retailers in Newbury, Reading, South Oxford and Kidlington are fully committed to bringing you the latest information as soon as it is released.
You can now check your VIN number on the Volkswagen website at http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/owners/dieselinfo to see if your car requires an upgrade. Your vehicle file on Volkswagen’s internal systems has also been updated so we can consult with you in one of our four retailers.New vehicles from Volkswagen with EU6 diesel engines are not affected and comply and outperform all current European environmental standards. All Petrol models, as well as V6 and V8 TDI models, are also unaffected. The software in question does not affect handling, fuel consumption, vehicle performance or CO2 emissions.
Volkswagen have announced that they will start the process of upgrading engines very shortly, and this will be done efficiently and with the minimum of inconvenience. Volkswagen will be contacting all owners very shortly with their actions, and will roll out their upgrade plan as soon as that has been achieved. Please look out for their letter.
Volkswagen UK is working with the Department of Transport here in the UK, and its network of retailers to ensure that all our customers receive the right upgrade and a terrific level of service when it is due.
Please check back here periodically, as I will be updating the message when new information becomes available, I am committed to ensuring you get the correct information, as soon as it is available. If you have any unanswered questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
If you have concerns, or questions, please feel very free to mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will ensure I respond personally and hopefully be able to answer any question you have. With this in mind I thought an FAQ would be helpful:
> I’m thinking of buying a new Volkswagen, are any of these affected?
No, all EU6 engines are completely unaffected
> I’m thinking of buying a Used Volkswagen, are any of these affected?
Yes, We have some cars for sale and our customers are continuing to buy them, they are safe from a technical standpoint and completely roadworthy. We are discussing the current issue with all customers who want to buy one.
> My vehicle is affected, do I need to take it to a workshop immediately?
No, the upgrade is still being finalised, but all UK cars are safe from a technical standpoint and roadworthy.
> My vehicle is affected, who will contact me about what happens next, Volkswagen or Ridgeway?
Volkswagen will contact you, however Ridgeway are here for you to answer any questions.
> My vehicle is affected, will I incur any costs?
No, Volkswagen will ensure that this is carried out with no cost to yourself and an absolute minimum of inconvenience. In fact we would hope to carry it out within your scheduled servicing regime.
> When will I be contacted?
Volkswagen will contact you shortly, hopefully within a few weeks.
> What has actually happened, why is this in the news?
The Californian Air Resources Board (CARB) and the American EPA (Environment Protection Agency) are unhappy with the differences of Nitrous Oxide emissions in real life driving compared to their testing regime. Nitrous Oxide is used in the US for road tax and company car tax calculations. A piece of Software has been written and used in certain engine derivatives, this is the so called ‘defeat device’. This software was developed 7-8 years ago by Bosch however Volkswagen took the decision to use it. Europe tests against CO2 emissions, which are not affected in any way.
> Will there be a potential change to my road tax?
No, Road Tax in the UK is calculated on CO2 emissions and these are not affected in any way.
> What happens next?
Volkswagen are working at full speed to upgrade any affected car. The correct technical solution will take a little time to ratify and then test. At this point Volkswagen will roll out, in partnership with Ridgeway, a program of upgrades. You will be contacted as soon as this planning has been done and invited in where we will ensure you are very well looked after.