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Consumer Reports Points Finger at VW for Gaming Product Review Process

Volkswagen is being accused of modifying their cars in order to get glowing press evaluations.

Consumer Reports, the renowned product-testing organization, has accused Volkswagen of attempting to deceive the public by providing ringer press cars for the media. This isn't the first time a story has surfaced about a ringer press vehicle - essentially a press vehicle that has been built to a higher standard than those sold to consumers. Even companies as prestigious as Ferrari have been reproached for providing better performing vehicles for the press.

Now its Volkswagen's turn to be named and shamed for this common practice as Consumer Reports published reports and descriptions of key differences between the 2012 Passat they bought from a car dealership and the early media car VW dropped off during the summer. The case in point relates to the trunk hinges, with the press car having plastic covers on both and the purchased vehicle getting just the one for the wiring loom hinge. Such a move of gamesmanship may not seem overly important, but the consumer magazine argues that if a manufacturer will go to such lengths to prevent criticism of an unsightly trunk hinge, what else are they capable of?

From their experience, suspension tweaking, computer flashing, engine blueprinting and adding sound deadening has all taken place to make media cars that little bit quicker, quieter and refined. Clearly, this practice cheats the consumer, while making a mockery of official road testing and needs to be halted without delay.

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