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Audi dealers ‘told lies’ about safety ratings

Wed, 14 May 2014

A BBC investigation has found that Audi dealers lied about the safety ratings of some of the German brand’s models.

The Watchdog programme sent undercover researchers into a number of dealers to ask about EuroNCAP ratings.

90% of staff lied about the Audi A5’s crash rating

They found that nine out of 10 said that the Audi A5 had been rated by NCAP, with six out of 10 saying it had been awarded a maximum five stars in the crash tests.

However, the A5, along with the A7, A8 and R8 models, has never been tested by EuroNCAP.

The investigation was triggered by an R8 owner, who complained that he’d been misled by his dealer about his car’s safety rating, prior to it being involved in an accident that injured his dad.

The complainant, who owns a car rental firm, claims to have enquired at 50 Audi dealers about the R8’s safety rating, and found that 48 told fibs.

Audi says it didn’t intend to mislead customers

Audi has yet to respond to our requests for comment; however, the manufacturer told the BBC:

"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.

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

"We are now aware that our sales and customer service staff must be more conversant with the Euro NCAP safety test register and specifically the Audi models included on it.

"We have already begun a comprehensive and far-reaching review of all of our communications and training procedures to ensure accuracy of information on test data provided to our customers."

Although it is not a legal requirement for all new cars to be tested by EuroNCAP, many manufacturers are willing to have their latest models rated – with many cars now receiving the full five stars.

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By Andrew Brady, Motoring Research