• British Audi salesmen claimed models had gone through crash tests
  • Dealers told customers all models had five-star ratings in Euro NCAP
  • However no tests have been performed on R8, A5, A7 and A8 models

By
Sean Poulter

19:37 EST, 13 May 2014


|

06:21 EST, 14 May 2014

German auto giant Audi made false claims about the crash testing of several of its cars, it has emerged.

Salesmen said all its models boasted five-star ratings in Euro NCAP tests.

But its R8 sports car, which costs up to £100,000, as well as its A5, A7 and A8 models, have in fact never been tested.

Untested: The R8 sports car, which costs up to £100,000, has not gone through a Euro NCAP crash test, despite salesmen claiming it has

Untested: The R8 sports car, which costs up to £100,000, has not gone through a Euro NCAP crash test, despite salesmen claiming it has

There is no evidence that the vehicles are inherently unsafe, however the company, which is part of Volkswagen, has been accused of misleading drivers.

The issue came to light when entrepreneur Daniel Jenkins was interested in buying an Audi R8 for his sports car rental company and was told by the dealer it was safety tested to the highest standards.

Mr Jenkins said: ‘One of the main reasons for me buying the Audi R8 over its competitors was the fact Audi advised me it had a Euro NCAP rating of 5-star and it had been crash tested.’

The Euro NCAP crash test is not a legally required, but the stringent regime, which looks at how vehicles cope with a range of impacts, is considered the gold standard of motor safety.

Mr Jenkins, 25, bought the car for a rental business in 2012 and it was subsequently used in a music video featuring the singer Alexandra Burke and separately by the magician Dynamo.

False promises: British Audi salesmen have been claiming that all of the German auto giant's models boasted five-star ratings in Euro NCAP tests (stock image)

False promises: British Audi salesmen have been claiming that all of the German auto giant’s models boasted five-star ratings in Euro NCAP tests (stock image)

He did not give the safety question another thought until a few months later when his father Paul, 54, was involved in a crash while taking evasive action.

Despite the fact the car was only travelling at only 45 miles per hour it was cut in half after spinning into the air and hitting a tree. Mr Jenkins’ father was in a coma for three and half weeks and in hospital for many months.

The crash, which happened on a road near the family home in Melksham, Wiltshire, prompted him to look into exactly what checks Euro NCAP had carried out on the car.

‘I visited the Euro NCAP website and became aware that the Audi R8 had never been crash tested or put through any programme with Euro NCAP. To find out that it wasn’t after being advised that it had been, I was extremely upset. Disappointed,’ he said.

He wanted to know whether this was a one-off error and so called 50 other Audi dealerships to ask about the R8’s safety testing, to check if they were issuing the same misleading information.

‘Forty-eight of them had told me directly that it had been put through the Euro NCAP programme, that it had been crash tested, and it had a 5-star rating. I was just gobsmacked,’ he said.

‘Frankly I am just disgusted that the company could be misleading people in such a serious way.’

Salesman's lies: Other models salesmen falsely claimed had undergone the crash tests were A5, A7 (pictured) and The Audi A8

Salesman’s lies: Other models salesmen falsely claimed had undergone the crash tests were A5, A7 (pictured) and The Audi A8

Mr Jenkins contacted BBC Watchdog who carried out their own mystery shopping exercise at 10 Audi showrooms across the country to establish if staff were in the wrong. Eight gave misinformation about NCAP tests.

Tim Shallcross, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: ‘I find it absolutely incredible to be honest, that a company of the reputation of Audi, and their parent group, the Volkswagen Group, 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.’

Mr Jenkins first contacted Audi UK head office to alert them to the problem five months ago, however, Watchdog found its customer service staff are still giving out misinformation.

Audi has accepted staff were in the wrong and apologised. A spokesman said: ‘Audi UK wishes to emphasise that there has not been any deliberate intent to mislead on the part of its customer-facing staff where the Euro NCAP safety test performance of the Audi model range is concerned.

‘Significant and sustained investment in active and passive safety technology across the Audi range has resulted in safety standards that do not call for embellishment or exaggeration by our customer-facing teams.

‘Audi vehicles are engineered to exceed international motor vehicle safety standards.  The company fully supports Euro NCAP’s efforts to improve vehicle safety.’ 

The spokesman added: ‘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.’

The comments below have not been moderated.

Neville,

Norwich,

12 hours ago

Ve hav ways of making you talk.The Eu riechmasters will get away with it.

Retro Dave,

London, United Kingdom,

12 hours ago

As 90% of cars I see broken down on the motorway are German.Never believe sales talk,do your own research.Also don’t trust the car mags reviewers they are not engineers.

Richard UK taxpayer,

Federal non democratic EEC, Spain,

13 hours ago

Ha Volkswagen / Audi caught with their lederhosen down. So much for Vorsprung Durch Technik!

Davie977,

Skelmersdale, United Kingdom,

14 hours ago

Audi brake lights must be good they seem to get a lot more use than most- indicators not so much.

old jake,

Bedale, United Kingdom,

14 hours ago

And that folks is what you get for your £100.000, a car that hasn’t been tested and sold to you by con-men.

Paul,

lansdale, United States,

14 hours ago

flat out lying about tests is scummy. an weri because once caugh out theylose all creditility.

Paul,

lansdale, United States,

14 hours ago

It’s one thing not to do tests that are not required but to lie about it is actually false advertising and should be actionble.

Douglas Grenfell,

London, United Kingdom,

14 hours ago

Many things claimed by car manufacturers are dodgy, but the only proof is to buy the damned thing and find out the faults, same for most goods, a salesman is there to sell, that way they get to keep a job and earn a living.

Paul,

lansdale, United States,

14 hours ago

a US maker proudly declared only their trucks were’professional grae’ as if it were a big deal, then it came out p’rofessional grade’ was an in house ter they copywrited, no one else COULD use it.

Observer,

Zhytomyr, Ukraine,

14 hours ago

…..just as a caution it would appear prudent to check that Volkswagen, Porsche and and Skoda products are all NCAP tested. Their engines and chassis are often shared……Audi have some catching up to do regarding the honesty of their product descriptions, personally, this debacle leaves me totally unimpressed with them as a brand….

One day….,

Dunmow, United Kingdom,

15 hours ago

Not a problem. Idiot Audi drivers crash test their cars every day

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