Volkswagen owners stay loyal despite emissions scandal, survey shows

More than three-quarters of Volkswagen owners have said that the recent emissions scandal has not put them off a repeat purchase.

According to a survey of almost 6,300 drivers by insurer 123.ie, 78% of VW drivers here said they had not been put off the German car brand, while almost 54% of non-Volkswagen drivers also said that the scandal would not put them off buying a VW car in the future.

Volkswagen has faced a difficult few months, with the brand back in the news again after the US government stated its intention to sue the car giant for the misdemeanour.The survey found that, overall, car buyers in Ireland are loyal, with nearly two thirds (62%) stating that they will stick with their current brand when changing car.

Volkswagen owners stay loyal despite emissions scandal, survey shows

Apart from Volkswagen, Mercedes and Skoda (both 74%) together with Toyota (73%) have been revealed as the top brands for owners to stay with, if changing their car.

Around 50% of Opel and Renault owners said they were likely to stick with those brands, while just 28% of Fiat owners said they would stick with the Italian car manufacturer.

Brand loyalty increases with experience and age. Some 72% of people over 65 stated that they would buy the same brand versus 60% of those under 25.

More than seven-in-10 who owned cars less than five years old said they would stay with that brand. This compares to just 50% of those with cars 15 years or older.

Around half (49%) of those who spent €2,000 or more on car repairs in the last year are likely to be brand loyal but of those who spent less than €100, 71% are likely to be brand loyal.

Head of marketing at 123.ie, Padraig O’Neill, said he was “surprised, but not shocked” by the consumer reaction to the Volkswagen scandal.

Volkswagen owners stay loyal despite emissions scandal, survey shows

“According to the Society of Irish Motor Industry, there were more new VW’s registered in Ireland in 2015 than any other passenger vehicle at 15,369 or 12.3% of the market,” he said. “And whilst Toyota outperformed VW in Ireland in December 2015, it still captured the number two slot for new car registrations in the final month of the year.

“So whilst the company’s share price and reputation have certainly taken a battering, this hasn’t translated into a decline in sales in Ireland and VW owners appear to be very brand loyal.”

Earlier this week it was revealed that Renault has recalled some 15,000 diesel cars after admitting its emissions filtering system does not work in all temperatures.

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