Back in September, the Financial Times printed an article claiming that Volkswagen had made a major U-turn in their lobbying position and were now supporting moves to make Europe’s cars greener. Hundreds of you emailed VW to ask if it was true, only to be met by radio silence.
So yesterday we decided to pop up to the VW office in Milton Keynes and ask them in person.
Luckily, head of public relations Paul Buckett was there, and he invited me and our stormtrooper in. The not so good news is that he didn’t answer our question about VW’s lobbying, instead telling us that we’d have to go to the VW headquarters in Germany to get an answer.
What he did say though was that what Jurgen Leohold - the senior VW executive quoted in the FT - probably meant was that, although VW had the technology to make their cars greener, they weren’t sure if their customers would buy greener cars and they didn’t want to go out of business by producing cars that people didn’t want. I said that with rising fuel prices I found it surprising to hear him say that car drivers didn’t want to buy more fuel efficient cars.
Finally, I had to ask why he hadn’t responded to your emails, even offering to send our IT guy round to fix their server. He said that there was nothing wrong with their IT systems, they just didn’t have the resources to respond to them.
We’ll keep trying to get an answer. Next stop, VW HQ in Wolfsburg!