There are two types of products that have my utmost brand affinity; shoes and cars. All other products and brands, from beauty, household and packaged foods, rotate through my life. I don’t even know the brand name of some products, just what the label color or bottle shape looks like. I’m constantly trying new brands from these categories and plus these types of products are dispensable, literally. So when one of the (indispensable) brands I’ve been living with for 12 years decides to lie, cheat and operate in a dishonest fashion, I must sadly and with great regret move on.
I’ve had to reevaluate my relationship with Audi in light of the recent VW emissions scandal. Although I’ve never owned a diesel-powered car, I have driven two VW’s and two Audi’s over the aforementioned 12 year relationship. As I come to the end of my current lease, I’m frantically and begrudgingly scrambling to find a comparable replacement. But other brands just can’t compare… I LIKE Audi, I was planning to STAY with Audi, there was nothing WRONG with Audi, except:
The disappointing news of Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s R&D Chief Engineer, being at the center of the VW investigation, along with other top automotive engineers at VW. Evidence proves they interfered with software programming in order to relay faulty data on tailpipe emission readings. The data produced a reduced reading in order to meet EPA standards. According to the WSJ, the hack occurred when the engineers were unable to deliver an engine that met the standard, and as a result programmed the deceptive device. The pressure to deliver on time, on budget and on spec was intense, new car sales were lagging and VW needed a breakthrough product in order to differentiate the company from competitors.
As a response to this monstrous deceptiveness and highly unethical behavior, I’m taking action and leaving Audi. I’ll have to unsubscribe to Audi’s social properties, local event notifications and merchandise catalogs (thankfully Audi only makes one type of shoe and it’s a Toms…). This big ticket brand and I had inseparable affinity and were striving to maintain a lifetime consumer loyalty, loyalty that could have spanned generations. Everything will be changing over the next few months as I painstakingly research another brand to fall in love with.
If anyone has suggestions on an automotive brand who would be a good match, I’m open to trying something new. European with impeccable design aesthetic is preferable.