Volkswagen Unveils “Germany Guarantee” Strategy To Keep Diesel Car Sales Going. Will It Work?

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As a method of perhaps trying to stop diesel car sales in the country from dropping, Volkswagen has unveiled a new program in its home market that will offer customers the option of replacing a purchased diesel car with a replacement if diesel car restrictions or bans go into effect and they are affected.

In other words, if someone buys a new (or 1-year old) diesel car from Volkswagen in Germany anytime through the end of 2018 and they are affected by the possible imposition of driving restrictions at home or work addresses, then Volkswagen will replace their car with a vehicle that is unaffected by the restrictions.

Known as the “Germany Guarantee,” this new program is reportedly free of charge, and seems to simply be a means of keeping diesel car sales up despite the threat of possible city- and regional-level bans. Notably, this guarantee is only good for 3 years from the date of purchase.

A press release provides the details: “The affected customer will receive an offer that the participating Volkswagen dealership will buy back the original model for the current value determined by the independent institution, Deutsche Automobil Treuhand (DAT, German Automobile Trust), if the customer then buys from the same dealership a new or year-old vehicle which would not be affected by driving restrictions. The participating Volkswagen dealership will give the customer a model-dependent trade-in premium with a maximum value corresponding to the previous environmental incentive.”

Does that sound like a good deal to you? To me it sounds like the company expects the phrase “Germany Guarantee” to make buyers more at ease with a possible purchase, but the terms of the deal don’t seem all that great. An outright swap with a new non-diesel car in the event of being affected by a ban or restrictions would make more sense.

The press release also included this wonderful bit of greenwashing that seems worth highlighting here: “Volkswagen is convinced that the diesel continues to make an important contribution in the fight against climate change; the company asserts that clean and efficient diesel engines with the most modern exhaust gas cleaning systems are essential to achieving the demanding future CO2 fleet emissions targets.”

What do you think? Is the “Germany Guarantee” enough to ensure that Volkswagen’s diesel car sales don’t fall too much in its home market?

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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