#DieselGate – Loss of confidence in Germany, but image recovery in the US and China

The diesel scandal has a considerable impact on German car brands. In Germany, it has led to a significant loss of confidence among manufacturers. VW now suffers from the lowest esteem in its domestic market compared to its competitors. In the US and China, on the other hand,  „DieselGate“ has comparatively minor consequences. All German car brands are registering a strong recovery there. These are the most important results of Globeone’s new study „The Image of German Brands 2018“ on the exhaust scandal. The current study is the fourth edition of our biennial series. At the end of 2017, we surveyed more than 1,500 consumers in China, the US and Germany.

Volkswagen falling far behind in Germany

Volkswagen is lagging behind the competition in all three major markets. In the US, BMW (86%) and Mercedes-Benz (84%) have the best image among the German brands, Volkswagen is fifth with 66%. In China, where Mercedes reaches 89% in the image ranking and BMW shares second place with Audi at 88% each, VW reaches 77%. In Germany, VW continues to lag significantly behind its competitors with an image ranking of only 29%.

The diesel scandal has damaged VW’s image in the medium term, especially in Germany. However, the reputation of the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer was significantly less damaged in the US and China than on the domestic market. According to Simon Aschermann, Consultant at Globeone, the diesel scandal never really came to bear in China.

DieselGate Comparison with 2015 shows the loss of image

The extent of the image loss in the German domestic market is shown above all by the change in image values from 2015 to 2017: While BMW, Audi and Porsche recorded slight growth in the US and significant growth in China, all leading German car brands recorded significantly lower values in their domestic market. VW can only grow slightly compared to the previous two years because the Group has probably overcome the worst effects of the scandal. But the image loss in Germany is clear on a broad front.

After DieselGate U.S. EPA notice Only one in three German consumers trust their own manufacturers

This also becomes clear in a marked decline in consumer confidence. One in three German consumers no longer has confidence in German manufacturers. Only one in three still have confidence in their domestic brands. „The German car brands have a serious credibility problem“, explained Aschermann.

Things remain exciting in the important US market, where Donald Trump continues to threaten import duties for German cars. On the US market, vehicles „Made in Germany“ are experiencing some headwind anyway. The extent to which the diesel scandal affects Germany’s COO image as an autonomous driving nation cannot be determined after such a short time.