Young Customers Shrug Off Volkswagen Scandal

      August 16, 2016 12:37

      Younger Korean consumers are notably less put off by Volkswagen's shameless cheating on emissions and other environmental tests than older ones.

      The Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association on Monday said the number of new Volkswagens bought by Koreans in their 40s in the first half of this year fell 38.2 percent on-year.

      Among customers in their 30s the number fell 36.1 percent, but among those in their 20s only 28.2 percent. Among people over 70, the number plunged 60.7 percent among people in their 50s and 60s 43 percent and 48.3 percent.

      Much the same is true for affiliate Audi. Audi sales to Koreans in their 40s were unchanged in the first half, but to customers in their 30s and 20s they rose 3.9 percent and 9.1 percent. Among older people they fell.

      Industry insiders say younger people found it hard to resist Volkswagen's aggressive discount campaigns.

      The company offered up to W10 million off for cash purchases and 60-month, zero-interest financing (US$1=W1,105). As a result, Volkswagen saw sales rise 12.2 percent in March on-year despite the scandal.

      Analysts say the reason is that older people think of their cars as assets and younger people as disposable consumer goods.

      "Older Koreans seem to feel that the value of their assets will fall if the resale values of Volkswagen automobiles drop, while younger drivers feel they have more to gain from the immediate discounts," said Prof. Kim Pil-soo of Daelim University.

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