German car manufacturer Audi is dealing with a period of bad PR amid allegations that some of its vehicles can catch fire inexplicably.
Motorist Themba Mabasa posted a Twitter thread detailing an incident where he was allegedly almost killed when his Audi TT burst into flames.
Another motorist, Alex Poltera, also posted a video on social media of his Audi Q3 burning. Poltera cautioned motorists to “be aware and careful”.
Here is my @Audi Q3. The report from Audi was inconclusive, and they have subsequently 'washed their hands' of me. Just a friendly warning to be aware and careful. This is becoming a frequent trait of what used to be a good brand. @audisouthafrica @TimesLIVE @TrafficSA @News24 pic.twitter.com/dUqTR7uDsw
— Alex Poltera (@alexpoltera) June 29, 2018
Poltera, a well-known chef, said: “What do you expect when you buy a premium car from a well-known German dealership? Good service? Quality vehicles? Intensive, knowledgeable servicing staff? Care for the well-being of the people spending money on their cars? The list for me, goes on quite extensively.
“Unfortunately, Audi South Africa has shown none of these attributes and has proven to me to be one of the worst, big corporation companies I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.”
He warned prospective buyers, as he claims to have been treated like a “fool who is and has been an inconvenience to them [Audi]”.
“The aim of this post serves as a warning to others. I have already been told very nicely that Audi will not offer any form of compensation. And being in my trade, I know that freebies don’t come from bad Facebook reviews.”
Audi in Poltera’s report said the cause of the incident could not established.
“At the time of the incident, however, the vehicle was almost three years old and had covered over 70 000 km. Audi SA is accordingly of the view that defect attributable to the production of the vehicle would have manifested itself at an earlier stage of the vehicle’s service history.”
The German car brand has said the Poltera and Mabasa cases were completely unrelated and were separate cases.
“Both of these fire incidents are completely unique in circumstance as well. Mr Poltera’s vehicle burnout originated directly in the engine compartment whereas Mr Mabasa witnessed smoke within the dashboard of his vehicle before his vehicle burnout.”
On Facebook, a number of comments suggest the brand is now the butt of a few jokes after one user claimed a fire extinguisher may be needed when purchasing an Audi.
An advert of an Audi Q8 on car dealer site Cars.co.za is riddled with comments such as “… doors lock themselves, once the fire starts you need a hammer or a guy to escape. My Audi caught fire in February this year.”
Other motorists have expressed further unease over the safety of the brand’s vehicles , stating “my concern is that Audi is now becoming a problem. It has become one of the cars that catches fire suddenly after long distance drive. I have come across 3 incidents with this brand, specifically A3, Q5, Q7″.
Another comment referred to the car as “a very expensive coffin”.
The allegations are traced back to motorist Mabasa, who posted a Twitter thread with a gallery of Audi vehicles which he claims also burst into flames.
I was made to believe that my car burning was an isolated incident, it turned it’s not. Here other @audisouthafrica cars that caught fire. And coincidentally we all issued with similar findings on what caused the fire they call it “Unkown circumstances” #Audiservicesucks pic.twitter.com/X4zFXKHz6W
— E M P E R O R TEECEE???????? (@TCMabasa) June 26, 2018
Audi South Africa responded to Mabasa’s claims and have since pinned a Facebook message on their timeline to address the allegations.
The company says there are always two sides to a story, and revealed how much Mabasa bought his Audi TT for, including the fact that he was paid out by his insurance.
The lengthy statement concluded by saying: “We are equally satisfied that following the destruction of the vehicle, we tried to make every reasonable endeavour to provide a solution that will resolve Mr Mabasa’s ongoing dissatisfaction.
“It nevertheless appears that Mr Mabasa seeks to use the adverse publicity arising from his social media posts in the hope of compelling us to effect payment of an amount which he demands in order to purchase his silence.”
There also appears to be a large number of customers coming to the defence of the brand on social media.
“I drive an A4 and am very happy with it, even though the maintenance on it is very expensive. Never had an issue and only the best service from Audi Menlyn,” reads a post of support.