Gasgoo.com (Shanghai) - The media storm around Volkswagen's defective DSG gearboxes is still ongoing, with reports appearing that the new Golf will not be equipped with the now notorious transmission system. Along with TSI engine technology, the DSG gearboxes were crucial in aiding VW's tremendous sales growth in China. However, this same gearbox technology has been the source of numerous complaints from Chinese consumers, leading many to doubt the quality of their design.
For its part, VW has been adamant that current issues with the gearboxes are merely an inconvenience and do not pose a safety risk, and as such do not warrant a vehicle recall. In China, the manufacturer has instead advocated the use of software updates to resolve any problems. Worth noting is that VW has taken different actions in other nations, with some alleging that the manufacturer is not respecting the rights of its Chinese consumers.
In the run up to of World Consumer Rights Day this past Thursday, Gasgoo.com (Chinese) held a survey collecting opinions on the controversy from 2,937 industry experts and insiders.
In the survey's first question, participants were asked if they believed that the complaints were unwarranted and whether or not the DSG gearbox technology was sound. A resounding 76 percent disagreed, believing that the technology does indeed have problems. Only ten percent agreed, while 14 percent said they did not understand the technology well enough to render a verdict. According to the majority of respondents, the publicly available materials make it evident that the gearboxes have problems. Furthermore, owners have been voicing complaints of difficulty and sometimes inability in shifting gears as early as two years ago. These same owners have also been unhappy of these problems persisting after supposed dealer repairs. At the moment, most of Shanghai VW and FAW-VW's models are equipped with DSG gearboxes. Without any relevant legal case, the scope of the issue is limited to the manufacturer, dealerships, consumers and the media.
If there is in fact a problem with the DSG gearboxes, why does VW China insist on sticking to its guns on the issue? When asked what they thought about the manufacturer's attitude on the issue, 37 percent of respondents said that they believed that VW was not being straightforward with its consumers in order to protect its own interests, while 39 percent answered that manufacturer simply did not respect the rights of consumers in China. These respondents believe that the relatively poor protection rights afforded Chinese consumers give VW the power to act in this fashion, something it would not do in its home country of Germany.
There are numerous cases of manufacturers ignoring the rights of Chinese buyers in order to cut production costs or for other similar reasons. According to a consulting firm analyst, who wishes to remain anonymous, upon first entering China, several multinational manufacturers chose to exclusively purchase high quality materials. However, after becoming accustomed to the intricacies of the Chinese market, these manufacturers began to realize that they could use inferior parts without much repercussion. Due to the lack of clear standards, substandard steel, slightly radioactive parts and impure rubber could be used without consequence. Without a strong independent third party to protect their rights, consumers could not exert much pressure on manufacturers. "Some multinational enterprises have gone far beyond domestic manufacturers in ignoring consumer rights," said analyst stated.