Volkswagen's move to offer gift cards to owners of tainted diesels was apparently also a scheme to identify affected vehicles, Audi now reveals.
For those unfamiliar with the whole situation, Volkswagen recently went under fire for cheating on its emission tests and selling vehicles that exceed the legal limit for pollution.
Just earlier this month, we reported that the automaker was offering gift cards and dealership credits to U.S. customers who own its faulty diesel cars. Audi owners whose vehicles were affected by this issue will also receive the same gift card peace offering.
Audi has one vehicle model - the A3 - affected by VW's emissions scandal. The car packs a four-cylinder diesel engine that Volkswagen tweaked to cheat on the emissions tests. The EPA said that similar cheating software was used in the six-cylinder diesel engine powering several other Audi models. Audi refuted claims of using a defeat service, but has nonetheless stopped selling those models.
Automakers are making efforts to calm the waters. Volkswagen, who started it all, lists the gift card and dealership credit offer as a "Goodwill package," but apparently there's more to it than just good will.
Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America, said that Volkswagen wants to simplify the process of identifying owners of affected vehicles, hence offering the gift cards.
"By offering the gifts, VW is not only trying to strengthen its customer relations, it's acknowledging how difficult it can be to get car owners to respond to recalls. In most cases, automakers are lucky to get half of the owners go to dealerships even for safety-related repairs," Bloomberg reports.
Keogh further highlights that this goodwill package is very helpful for locating affected vehicles.
"By getting people to raise their hand and engage now, we can be as effective as possible once we have the remedy," Keogh explained, as cited by Bloomberg.
It's worth pointing out that vehicle owners who accept the gift card and dealership credit offer will probably still be able to participate in potential class-action lawsuits that may seek further compensation.
The emissions scandal had quite a ripple effect and dragged other automakers into this mess, as well as consumers who unknowingly purchased tainted diesel cars. It remains to be seen how this whole situation will pan out in the end, but for now things don't look so good.