Audi Press Car Used to Help Flood Victims

audi press car used to help flood victims

Press-car abuse is a part of the automotive journalism industry. So, too, is damage caused by normally diligent journalists who made a mistake/had some bad luck. I don’t intentionally abuse vehicles, but I’ve dented and dinged and broken a few things because sometimes shit happens.

What I have not done is use a press car to help flood victims. Nor have I been scolded for doing so, even though the car wasn’t apparently damaged.

A European YouTuber apparently angered Audi by using an RS6 to assist flood victims in Germany, despite the fact that he apparently only used it to haul supplies, equipment, and personnel, and any off-roading he did wasn’t too extreme. It sounds like the car was undamaged.

Yet said YouTuber got an email from Audi that made the brand sound none too pleased with his use of the car.

Here in the States, we sign contracts before each loan promising not to drink and drive, to pay for any parking or speeding tickets, and so on. Some OEMs don’t want their cars street parked overnight (though I am sure it happens in urban areas where it can be unavoidable), and most won’t allow a journalist’s family members to drive without permission. Some frown on transporting pets. It should go without saying that we need permission to take a car to the track or a truck/SUV off-road. We even need special permission to cross into Canada or Mexico, and that has nothing to do with COVID — the requirement has existed for a long time.

I don’t know what Audi allows for its German press cars, but it strikes me that using the car to assist with flood victims would be in-bounds, as long as the driver wasn’t putting the car through off-roading it can’t handle. He did say he drove through some “extreme environments”, but it’s not clear what those environments were/are and if they offered up terrain that would be too tough to tackle for an RS6.

I mean, a road covered in standing water could be considered “extreme”, even if the water isn’t deep enough to damage the car.

One could even make an argument that the journalist showed just what the Audi can — and can’t — do. And that he gave the brand good publicity by showcasing its abilities. That’s called “earned media” — positive publicity the brand didn’t pay for. Any positive review could be considered earned media, and so too could YouTube videos showing an Audi being put to use to help disaster victims.

What say you — was Audi or the journalist in the wrong?

[Image: YouTube screenshot]

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2 of 24 comments
  • Bullnuke Bullnuke on Jul 28, 2021

    This incident is really nothing new in our shared world. Just another file to be placed in the folder titled, "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished". Move along...

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jul 28, 2021

    That the wokeness in action for you: lot of anger with no compassion.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?