VW Diesel Owner Survey Shows Support, Confusion

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Volkswagen diesel owners are generally satisfied with the terms of the proposed $14.7 billion emissions cheating settlement, which offers a buyback option and cash payments to consumers, according to a new survey released by Autolist.com

However, the survey also shows that many VW owners are confused about whether they’re covered by the settlement and whether their vehicles are affected by the diesel cheating scandal.

Autolist.com, a website that allows users to search millions of used car listings, surveyed users who own Volkswagens about their feelings on the settlement, as well as their perception of the VW brand. Before answering those questions, respondents were required to enter the year and type of their vehicle, as well as answer whether they were affected by the Volkswagen diesel scandal and the proposed settlement.

A “significant number” of respondents answered that question incorrectly, which meant that their responses were excluded from the survey, Alex Klein, vice president for data science at Autolist.com, told Bloomberg BNA today. That includes both owners of 2.0-liter diesels that didn’t think they were affected by the emissions scandal and owners of 3.0-liter diesels who mistakenly thought that their vehicle was covered by the proposed settlement, Klein said.

The proposed scandal only covers 2.0-liter vehicles, such as the Volkswagen Jetta and the Audi A3. Volkswagen has yet to resolve issues with their 3.0-liter vehicles, such as the VW Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne. In fact, the California Air Resources Board yesterday rejected a proposal that would have brought the 3.0-liter vehicles into compliance.

Klein said his team “really wanted to make sure” that the survey illustrated the views of people who knew that they were affected by the scandal and the settlement. The survey, which included 310 people from across the U.S., showed the following:

  • 50 percent of respondents said they were either satisfied or very satisfied by the terms of the settlement, compared to 19 percent who responded either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied.
  • 49 percent of respondents said they were either likely or very likely to take the buyback offer, while 29 percent said they still weren’t sure.
  • 39 percent of respondents said they still have a favorable view of Volkswagen, despite the emissions scandal.

The margin of error on the survey is +/- 5 percent. Klein said Autolist was able to achieve “statistical significance” with such a small sample size because the population of affected diesel owners in the U.S. is under 500,000.

More information on the Volkswagen diesel settlement, including a list of all affected models, is available at https://www.vwcourtsettlement.com/en/.

That website now includes a tool that allows owners to enter their vehicle identification number to determine if their vehicle is covered.