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AstraZeneca halts Volkswagen Group orders

Date: 17 November 2015   |   Author: Tristan Young

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has stopped all orders for new Volkswagen Group vehicles. In doing so, AstraZeneca has become the first known fleet to have cancelled orders with VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda because of the emissions crisis, according to a VW Group spokesman.

BusinessCar understands that the decision has been taken globally by the blue-chip pharmaceutical company, which operates a fleet of 20,000 cars in 70 countries, including more than 1000 company cars in the UK.

It is understood that the move was made as part of AstraZeneca's ethical interaction and code of conduct polices.

AstraZeneca is believed to run a fleet policy that covers cars from the VW Group, BMW, Nissan and GM (Vauxhall in the UK), and is not thought to have acted to replace the VW Group brands with any other.

This suggests the move could be a temporary suspension and that orders could restart once VW has overcome its troubles, although the pharmaceutical business failed to confirm this before BusinessCar went to press.

Globally, AstraZeneca has around 4400 VW Group vehicles on the road, and BusinessCar understands that around 2000 of those are fitted with the emission test 'defeat device' and will be subject to recall work.

Volkswagen confirmed that AstraZeneca had stopped ordering its products and a VW Group spokesman said it is "not aware of any other companies not buying. due to the current emissions issue".

Speaking at the facelifted Seat Ibiza launch event last week, Peter McDonald, Seat's head of fleet and business sales, added that his brand had only a small exposure to AstraZeneca and that no other fleets had ceased ordering because of the emissions scandal.

"A number of our customers were affected and we've communicated with all of them - many of them by phone," said McDonald. "It has been a challenge for us and we've been speaking to them individually.

"Even one car affected is a concern and could be a disturbance to them and we want to do our absolute best to be open with the information we have got and reduce that disturbance," he continued.

"We have customers that have concerns and we understand their perspective, but at this moment in time they are giving us the benefit of the doubt and want to work with us. The situation will unfold with time."