Posted by Andy Jones 23 Nov 2015

Volkswagen's reputation on the long road to recovery

Back in September it was discovered that VW had installed software designed to deceive emissions measuring software, essentially showing the automotive giant up for crossing its fingers behind its back when being asked how much it was polluting the planet.

Needless to say VW's worth plummeted and a lot of trust was lost not just in the German brand, but also in the industry's commitment to being green.

Experts have predicted that, due to the size of the crisis, the repercussions could mean that it takes upwards of 10 years for VW to fully recover and regain the public's trust.

In that time, VW faces a fight on two very distinct fronts, and they're battlefields that any PR and communications worker will be familiar with; the battle for reputation and the need to keep the bottom line healthy and the money coming in.

VW have already started making the right noises as far as reputation is concerned, placing large apologetic adverts in national newspapers and including hand-wringing quotes from executives.

Whilst it's true that Volkswagen have taken a hit to their bottom line since September, with Q3 profits down from this time in 2013, they have also reported a post-tax profit for the calendar year so far of $4bn. They've also put aside $6.7bn to deal with ripples and waves caused by the emissions scandal so they're clearly not in any immediate danger of going bust.

The fact is that VW has simply proved to be too big to fail, but that doesn't mean they can afford to be complacent, something they've realised to their credit. They still have years of public grovelling ahead of them, but for now VW's prospects are looking very healthy indeed, and once they get the public back on side you suspect it will be business as usual for the venerable manufacturer.