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Volkswagen cheated on diesel emissions. Its image will survive

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How Volkswagen’s love affair with diesel led to scandal

Source: Mashable. Author: PATRICK KULP

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IMAGE: JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/DP

Volkswagen’s reputation and shares have taken a black eye in the two weeks since its huge emissions cheating scandal came to light.

The revelations that the world’s biggest automaker has been systematically duping customers and regulators provoked a quick cleansing of its executive ranks, regulatory charges that will likely cost the company billions, a stock price free-fall that erased one third of the company’s value and a widespread consumer backlash.

That’s only the beginning of its problems: The company’s future will be marked by a flurry of lawsuits and a litany of new penalties as various regulatory agencies worldwide sink their teeth into the company’s transgressions.

It seems like things couldn’t get much worse for Volkswagen. But will the battering be enough to irreparably scar the brand’s trustworthiness in the eyes of the public?

While it’s not expected to bounce back any time soon, public relations and advertising experts say the European auto giant’s vast financial resources and a savvy regimen of marketing and PR maneuvers will likely repair its brand — though it may take years.

In other words, Volkswagen, like many of its peers in the auto industry, is believed to be too big to fail.

There’s just too much money wrapped in this thing for it to not make a comeback

There’s just too much money wrapped in this thing for it to not make a comeback,” says Paul Argenti, a corporate communications professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

“My guess is if they do the right things — try to get on this quickly, put a box around what’s going on and limit it so it’s not every single product…I would be shocked if they don’t come back from this.”

Enron-scale deception

For years, Volkswagen has touted its fuel efficiency and clean diesel in advertisng, building its U.S. brand around responsible and cost-saving fuel use.

Now that it’s been proven that those claims were rigged by a fraudulent piece of software installed in at least 11 million cars, the boasts could end up costing the company.

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