AUDI is offering an in-kind goodwill gesture to Australian customers affected by the Dieselgate controversy as it rolls out a fix for about 10,000 of the 16,058 Audi-badged cars scooped up in the scandal.
The German luxury brand this week updated its website to say it had gained government approval to fix another batch of vehicles using 1.6- and 2.0-litre versions of its EA189 four-cylinder diesel engines affected by claims that they included defeat devices to pass strict US emissions laws.
To keep Australian owners happy, Audi is offering an extra two years of roadside assistance and, if their car is still inside its three-year warranty period, an extra two years of cover.
Audi has implemented a fix for affected vehicles that takes about 45 minutes, and may include a hardware upgrade that corrects an air flow rectifier, Audi Australia spokeswoman Anna Burgdorf told Wheels.
“To date, 26 percent of customers have had the free technical update performed on their vehicle,” Burgdorf said. “We’re anticipating to get approval by later this year to fix the remaining cars.”
Audi has been contacting affected owners since December to let them know that a fix for their car was ready, Burgdorf added. Cars implicated in the scandal include the Audi A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and some Q5 models.
If the Dieselgate fix doesn’t fit in with an owner’s busy schedule, Audi’s dealer network will offer them a loan vehicle. When they return it, they will find their car “fully cleaned and washed inside and out”, said Burgdorf.
Audi’s German parent company, Volkswagen Group, has come under heavy criticism from Australia’s consumer interest group, Choice, over claims the carmaker had attempted to “avoid, confuse, and deny” claims relating to the scandal, and its refusal to compensate owners.
The group has consistently said it has not broken any laws here by including the cheat devices on its cars.
In a further blow, last week Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, added Audi as a co-defendant in its Federal Court action against Volkswagen, alleging it had also engaged in misleading owners – a claim both brands have denied.
About 80,000 other Volkswagen Group vehicles in Australia have already had a fix approved, including 2.0-litre versions of the Volkswagen Golf, Passat, Jetta, Tiguan and Caddy, and 2.0-litre versions of the Skoda Superb, Octavia and Yeti.