The German automaker during the past decade has reported death and injury claims well below the industry average – actually delivering the lowest count among any major carmakers.
Now the numbers look too good to be true and some industry experts are starting to wonder if they add up or the company employed another cheat here as well – since they were caught red handed by the EPA rigging diesel emission testing procedures. According to financial advisory firm Stout Risius Ross Inc., which has made an analysis of government figures, Volkswagen AG is nine times below the average reporting rate of the 11 largest automakers active on the US auto market. And underreporting claims wouldn’t be unprecedented, since this year alone two of the company’s rivals – Japan’s Honda and US-Italian carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – admitted they lowered the claims count reported to the US government, paying a penalty in the process. The analyzed data shows that VW is even below the underreported count from Honda and FCA.
“The data demonstrates that even on a fleet-adjusted basis, the number of reported incidents by Volkswagen is significantly below what one would expect based on those reported by other automakers,” said Neil Steinkamp, a Stout Risius managing director. “They are also significantly below the reporting of automakers that have already been cited for non-compliance.” Reporting death and injury claims is an integral part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “early-warning system” that aims to identify vehicle issues as early as possible to lower the count of fatalities and injuries.