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Volkswagen customers misled over safety ratings

Volkswagen customers misled over safety ratings

V olkswagencustomers are being misled over the safety ratings of certain vehicles, it has been exposed. An investigation by Channel Four’s Dispatches found that some dealers are claiming that the current VW Polo has a five starlet score for safety, when the rating has in fact expired.

An undercover reporter was falsely told by one salesman that the model had been tested in 2014, meaning that Polos from two thousand fifteen and two thousand sixteen “absolutely” had the highest ENCAP (European Fresh Car Assessment Programme) safety score available.

H owever, in the seven years since the rating was originally awarded the test has become more rigorous, meaning that the car would need to have more safety features installed to receive the same score today. Dispatches found that six out of the eight franchised dealerships they had visited gave them the wrong information.

Autoexpress editor Steve Fowler condemned the findings. He said: “You’re trusting these people; you’re spending an awful lot of money. This is the 2nd largest purchase you’ll ever make and they are providing you wrong information.

It’s like buying a house and someone telling no the road out there isn’t busy, it’s only the M25 A spokesperson for Volkswagen said that they would improve staff training “in relation to communication of the latest safety developments.”

T hey added that the company “regret that the petite number of dealer staff involved in this covert filming did not appropriately check and communicate that the five starlet rating of the Polo had expired.”

Paul Willis, Volkswagen’s UK managing director, was summoned in front of MPs last year after it emerged the company were installing “defeat devices” which could sense when a car was being tested and adjust emissions to make the vehicles show up cleaner than they actually were.

Dispatches also called into question the reliability of the ENCAP ratings widely used in the UK after it emerged that the test crashes do not always accurately reflect the harm caused in real life accidents. American safety engineers discovered that a test involving an influence to twenty five per cent of the front of the vehicle found almost three-quarters of cars crumpled, putting the driver at risk of death.

H owever, this test is not presently used by ENCAP when assessing the safety of a vehicle. ENCAP said that they performed what tests they could with the funds available. It was also exposed that 20,000 Crysler Jeep Cherokees in the UK have a design flaw which means the fuel tank could explode in a crash.

The company issued a voluntary recall in the US in two thousand thirteen after seventy five people died as a result of fuel tank fires, and implemented the same recall in the UK a year later for Grand Cherokees made inbetween one thousand nine hundred ninety three and one thousand nine hundred ninety eight and Cherokees built inbetween two thousand two and 2007.

More than 30,000 vehicles were returned to British garages, but Dispatches claim that a further 20,000 have yet to be motionless.

Dispatches: How safe is your car? is on Channel four at 8pm Monday 1st August.

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