It was only a matter of time before automakers jumped on the opportunity to seize leery Volkswagen owners and convince them to jump from their sinking ship.
We already know that Volkswagen owners are among the most loyal in the auto industry, so getting them to trade-in their prized V-Dub on anything else is an exercise in futility. It just doesn’t happen.
Even in the midst of crisis and outright deception on VW’s part, many owners are staying true and standing behind the brand that lied and cheated its way into their hearts. Like a bad relationship, some owners feel hurt and vulnerable, while others defend their choice in automobiles.
We don’t know yet how Volkswagen will fix its dirty diesels, but we do know there’s a fight starting to capture the affected customers around the world. Will they turn their backs on VW?
FCA wants Volkswagen owners to look their way,
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is seeking to lure customers away from Volkswagen AG with rebates of as much as 1,500 euros ($1,700) in Italy amid the German competitor’s woes over cheating on emissions tests.
Fiat Chrysler is offering the discounts on top of other incentives on the trade-in of a car from any of Volkswagen’s brands, according to an internal memo published in Il Giornale daily that was confirmed by dealers.
Other automakers will surely follow suit in an attempt to pounce on VW while it’s down. Ford, just yesterday, announced a European incentive of up to $1,900, designed to eat into Volkswagen’s sizable market share in that part of the world.
VW, though, won’t fall without a fight. In an attempt to curtail a wave of defections, the company is offering current U.S. owners a $2,000 incentive toward the purchase or lease of any new Volkswagen gasoline or hybrid vehicle. That’s in addition to the already hefty incentives of up to $4,000 that the company offered after the scandal broke. It’s not being received well so far.
According to the LA Times, Hollywood awards strategist Amy Grey saw the offer and said,
They could give me a VW for free and I wouldn’t take it.
That seems to be a common sentiment, and one that worries VW of America COO Mark McNabb, who said in an Oct. 2 memo to dealers announcing VW’s monthly incentive programs,
The heart and soul of this brand relies upon the devoted customers and dealers that drive our products on a daily basis.
If those devoted customers decide to break up with Volkswagen for good, that heart and soul will be gone. Here’s one more piece of evidence that VW’s already on its way out the door: VW of America has withdrawn its application for EPA approval on 2016 diesels. That means if you want to drive a diesel, you need to look elsewhere.
Are you a Volkswagen owner? Will you stay with the brand, even if other automakers lure you with incentives?