This issue of misleading information was brought to light by Daniel Jenkins, a dealer in car rentals. Jenkins had purchased an R8 in December 2012 on the assurance from an Audi dealer that it had a 5 star Euro NCAP rating. Just a few months after purchase, Jenkins father, Paul met with an accident while in the R8. This led to a series of investigations into the safety credentials of the car, which made Jenkins contact various dealers.
48 out of 50 Audi dealers confirmed that the R8 had been put to the test and had achieved required safety credentials. Jenkins then contacted the Audi head office informing them about the misleading content given by their dealers and his intention to take up the matter seriously.
Tim Shallcross, Head of Policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, told BBC: “I find it incredible… that a company of the reputation of Audi, and their parent group, the Volkswagen Group can allow their product to be misrepresented so badly in that way. Nobody’s saying the cars aren’t safe, but if they haven’t been tested… to say that they have, that’s outrageous.”
“Audi UK wishes to emphasise that there has not been any deliberate intent to mislead on the part of its customer-facing staff where the Euro NCAP safety test performance of the Audi model range is concerned,” said a company spokesman.
“Audi vehicles are engineered to exceed international motor vehicle safety standards. The company fully supports Euro NCAP’s efforts to improve vehicle safety. We are now aware that our sales and customer service staff must be more conversant with the Euro NCAP safety test register and specifically the Audi models included on it.”
“We have already begun a comprehensive and far-reaching review of all of our communications and training procedures to ensure accuracy of information on test data provided to our customers,” the spokesperson concluded.