“VW cheats on Australian consumers”

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The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) is calling for urgent talks with the Federal Government to reign in the car makers’ arrogant approach with software they build into vehicles and the data it produces.

The international vehicle manufacturing scandal following Volkswagen’s admission to cheating on the diesel emissions tests of up to 11 million cars has driven home the point pressed by AAAA since its launch of the Choice of Repairer campaign in 2009.

AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity said the Association’s message has consistently been car makers will tell us only what they want us to know – and will only tell us when it suits them. “Technology now allows car companies to communicate with their vehicles on the road or while sitting in your garage,” said Stuart Charity.

“This ability of car companies to totally control all ‘black box’ elements of today’s sophisticated computer managed vehicles is evidenced by this latest scandal.

“This cheat on consumers and the environment makes a mockery of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ new ‘genuine is best’ catchphrase designed to attack aftermarket service, repair and parts suppliers.

“If car makers cheat when they build the car, will they do the same through their dealers’ service and repair operations? This ‘genuine is best’ spin promoted by vehicle manufacturers is now seen for what it is . . . a sales slogan.

“The current VW computer software cheat was only discovered by chance. Recalls by car makers are now common place and have forced governments to introduce stiffer regulations and penalties. In 2013, VW recalled 2.6 million vehicles due to problems that could occur in the gearbox.

“This 2015 global VW recall will inconvenience more than four times as many trusting car owners, who thought they were driving a more environmentally friendly vehicle.

“The Australian Government must accept the reality of the global market place . . . vehicle data is a critical consumer and environmental issue. The AAAA wants the Government to put in place robust regulations to ensure that all matters relating to vehicle data are open and honest,” said Stuart Charity.