Volkswagen Working to Regain Trust of US Market

February 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. in (somebody’s) good graces / ɪn gʊd ɡreɪsəz / (idiom) – the act of showing understanding and kindness
Example: Since he was late to work, the employee stayed late to get be in his boss’ good graces.

2. emission / ɪˈmɪʃ ən / (n.) – the act of discharging something
Example: Many factories in the city pledged to lessen their gas emissions.

3. rough / rʌf / (adj.) – difficult or not easy
ExampleHe had a rough time during his first week at work.

4. manipulate / məˈnɪp yəˌleɪt / (v.) – to change something for a specific purpose
Example: The researchers manipulated the temperature and observed how the plants reacted.

5. core / kɔr / (adj.) – describing something that is very important
Example: Commitment to customers is one of the company’s core values.


Read the text below.
Following various scandals, Volkswagen is aiming to get itself in America's good graces once again.

The company has been having a rough couple of years due to lack of innovation and a scandal involving their diesel cars. Last year, the German car company admitted to cheating in US diesel emission tests. However, the admission did not help the company recover the trust of the people. As a result, their sales and plans in the country still suffered.

Early this year, executives of the famous automaker tried to win back consumers at the annual Detroit auto show. During the show, Michael Horn, Volkswagen America’s CEO boasted that more than 250,000 customers who owned cars that did not comply with emission standards signed up for a “goodwill package” of $1,000 worth of gift and loyalty cards. They are also persuading authorities that the company has found a solution to their high diesel emission problem.

In January, Volkswagen’s chief executive Matthias Mueller made his first public appearance in the United States since the scandal broke out. Currently, Mueller has to deal with winning back the trust of car owners, struggling relations with car dealers, and their troubled negotiations with government regulators.

Mueller is set to meet the federal regulators in Washington to talk about the company’s timeline in fixing about 600,000 cars that have devices that can manipulate emissions standards. Mueller apologized to the public and said that the whole company knows how disappointing the incident was to their customers, government bodies, and the general public. Volkswagen is totally committed to make up for the wrong things it has done, he added.

The American market is important to Volkswagen and to get out of this market is not realistic, according to analyst Karl Brauer. Mueller also said that the United States remains a core market for the company.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Volkswagen can regain the trust of its US market? Why or why not?
·         If Volkswagen did that in your country, do you think the company would still have a chance to be forgiven by its customers and the government? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         If you were the head of Volkswagen, what initiatives will you propose to regain the public’s trust in the company?
·         How can companies ensure a balance between good service and earning money? Cite examples to support your answer.

February 25, 2016