In a matter of four days, Volkswagen’s growing scandal of equipping their diesel cars with rigged emission standards software has brought the car maker to its lowest U.S. consumer perception levels in more than six and a half years.
The last major global automotive crisis was Toyota in 2010, when its chairman had to testify in front of Congress. YouGov BrandIndex perception data shows it took more than one year for the car maker to recover.
However, unlike Toyota, which ranked high atop the sector when its recalls began, VW has trended behind its mainstream rivals in purchase consideration among US consumers over the past 18 months, according to a June YouGov BrandIndex report.
For this report, YouGov BrandIndex measured Volkswagen’s consumer perception with its Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"
A Buzz score can range of -100 to 100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position. Example: A score of 35 means that 35% more people said they were positive than negative about the brand. All scores reflect adults 18 and over.
For most of September, VW’s Buzz score was in the 10 to 11 range. They are now at -2. VW had never gone below a zero Buzz score since at least January 1, 2009.