Volkswagen was hardly the first car manufacturer to find itself at the center of a PR disaster, when CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned in a storm of controversy last week. There was Toyota’s recall of 9 million cars in 2009, Ford’s recall of 19 million vehicles in 1996, and GM’s of some 30 million cars over the past five years. So how come Volkswagen’s recent announcement that it would recall 500,000 vehicles, after sharing incorrect emissions information with authorities, is likely to damage its brand more than those other recalls have affected its competitors? Because the brand has directly violated its own core brand values.
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