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Audi dealers mislead customers about R8 safety rating

By raccars Published

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According to an investigation by the BBC’s Watchdog programme, Audi dealers across the UK have been wrongly claiming that the firm’s luxury R8 model has received Euro NCAP safety ratings. The claims came to light when an R8 owner’s father was seriously injured after being involved in an accident in the car, while driving at 45mph. The owner, Daniel Jenkins, claims he was told when he bought the car that it had a five star rating from Euro NCAP, widely regarded as the ‘gold standard’ of safety ratings. He subsequently found out, however, that the R8 had, in fact, never been tested by the organisation. Mr Jenkins then said that he contacted 50 Audi dealers and was told, incorrectly, by 48 of them that the R8 had a Euro NCAP safety rating. Mr Jenkins says he then alerted Audi to the misleading information being given out by its dealers, but it appears that the problem remains.

The issue was taken up by Watchdog investigators and their undercover reporters found a similar level of misinformation at Audi dealers. In their investigations, they found that in 8 out of 10 cases, Audi dealers told reporters that the company’s A5 model had a Euro NCAP safety rating when, in fact, it doesn't.

Commenting on the investigation, the Institute of Advanced Motorists' Head of Policy, Tim Shallcross, said: "I find it absolutely incredible to be honest, that a company of the reputation of Audi, and their parent group, the Volkswagen Group overall can allow their product to be misrepresented so badly in that way. Nobody’s saying the cars aren't safe, but if they haven’t been tested, they haven’t been tested. To say they have, that’s outrageous."

Audi has responded to the programme’s claims by confirming that only six models in its range of 12 cars had been tested by Euro NCAP. Neither the A5 nor the R8 was one of the models tested. The company went on to say that it did not think that any of its official documentation or marketing material contained any misleading information, nor was there any evidence of safety problems in the R8 involved in Mr Jenkins’ case. A company spokesman concluded: "Audi UK accepts that this investigation has brought to light a shortfall in its communication procedures where the NCAP safety ratings of its range are concerned. We also acknowledge that we did not adequately address this shortfall when it was brought to our attention by Mr Jenkins, and on both counts we apologise unreservedly."

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