Volkswagen SA responds to news of syndicate targeting VWs being bust

FEBRUARY 3, 2015

Less than 50 of the more than 3700 vehicles in the Volkswagen South Africa fleet, had been hijacked in the past six months. This was revealed by VWSA's General Manager for Group Communications, Matt Genrich.

He was commenting on a report in Tuesday’s edition of The Herald about the arrest in Gauteng of two men who are suspected to be part of a hijacking syndicate targeting VW's and specifically VW employees driving company cars.

"Volkswagen Group South Africa cares about the safety and well-being of its employees and their families, so the matter of hijacking is of concern and our Plant Protection Department work very closely with the SAPS in helping to prevent hijackings and in the case of hijackings in the recovery of the stolen vehicles.

“However, it would not be in our or the SAPS interest to divulge the details of this as this could hinder the investigations around this. We are very pleased that the SAPS have made good progress and have been able to make arrests," Genrich was quoted by a local radio station saying.

He said the majority of Volkswagen’s company fleet was in the Nelson Mandela Metro.

“Less than 50 of these cars have been Hijacked in the last 6 months which equates to just over 1%. Clearly one vehicle hijacking is too many and hence one of the measures that we have put in place is to fit tracking devices to many of the vehicles. More than 50% of the cars hijacked are in fact recovered," he added.

"Employees like all other citizens are at risk of crime including hijacking in this country. Syndicates are obviously aware that we have a large fleet of attractive nearly new cars in this area and as stated above we work closely with the SAPS to ensure that this risk is minimised as much as possible.”

"There is a financial loss to the company of every car stolen and not recovered, and then there is the human impact of the trauma on the employee of the hijack. We have a comprehensive wellness programme within the company which includes access to counselling to mitigate the negative effects as much as possible.

"Customers should be aware that should they be approached by social media or see an offer for a Volkswagen or Audi that seems priced well below its real value then they should be very careful, the adage "if it is true good to be true it probably is" applies. Volkswagen Group South does not sell cars directly to the public and its dealers would never sell demos or nearly new cars at unrealistic prices. If in doubt please contact VWSA.”