[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]
Reply to: "unintended acceleration"
my pal at Audi once gave me the inside skinny on how it all went down - and
i'll pass it along as i remember it, paraphrased...
at the time, the Audi in america was seen as a cheap alternative to the
Mercedes and BMW - status cars - and were thus enjoying very good sales
volumes. lots of americans were moving out of big buicks and cadillacs, and
the like, into these "poor man's mercedes," which were apparently often the
first european cars many of the new owners had driven.
after the first few reports of problems, audi investigated - and found
(remember, my paraphrasing of THEIR info and opinions) that the incidents were
mostly caused by inexperienced/unfamiliar female drivers that had mistakenly
hit the accelerator rather than the brake, and had attempted to blame the
accident on the car. also, the close pedal spacing - for heel-and-toeing,
"euro style" design - helped this mixup to occur. now, here's where management
screwed the pooch: they allowed this rather un-PC notion to get out, and also
stated in good teutonic male fashion that there was nothing they would do about
it. "we cannot help that these foolish women don't know how to operate a car
properly; there is nothing wrong with the design" - they stonewalled it.
in there somewhere was 60 minutes, and the floodgates were opened to all the
"me-too" types - and still management denied any responsibility or willingness
to make a "fix."
and, funnily enough, lots and lots of folks went back to those big buicks and
caddys - or to BMWs or Mercedes.
there was of course the shift lock and recall - but public-perception wise, it
was too little, too late. not at all like lee iacocca taking out full page ads
in all major periodicals saying "we screwed up, and we're sorry"
btw, my pal did a pretty funny (and pitiful) imitation of a bigbig boss from
the vaterland (NOT piech, though) doing a hissing, disgusted, half-whispered
and wrinkled-up nosed indictment of "zese fat amerikan vimmin triverss" - same
guy who at another time confided that BMW was having a "real problem" with an
"undesirable" element buying their cars in the US "hugh know, lotz und lotz uff
ze schwartze buy ze bay-emm-vay in amerika! tch tch!"
hopefully, this has all changed...
-- peter of lbl