Volkswagen to Offer Free Emergency Services After Refusing to Help in Kidnapping Case

Following an incident earlier this month in which Volkswagen refused to provide law enforcement with the location of a stolen car with a kidnapped child still inside, the automaker has agreed to make its car-tracking service free.

Ars Technica reports that Volkswagen has announced that it will be making its connected vehicle emergency service free for most model-year 2020-2023 Volkswagens. The choice was made after the automaker came under fire for the company’s connected car service’s refused to assist in the tracking of a stolen vehicle with a kidnapped 2-year-old child still inside until someone paid to reactivate the service.

Breitbart News recently reported that earlier this month, a 2021 VW Atlas with a toddler inside was stolen from its owner’s driveway in Libertyville, Illinois, a wealthy suburb of Chicago. In order to locate the stolen Atlas, the police contacted VW Car-Net, Volkswagen’s connected car service. The representative would not reveal the stolen car’s whereabouts until the Atlas Car-Net trial subscription had been renewed, which cost $150. The company refused to budge despite first responders begging for help in rescuing the kidnapped child.

The child and the vehicle had already been located by the police using other methods by the time they paid the reactivation fee, according to the police, which was about 30 minutes after the theft. Numerous people criticized Volkswagen for failing to provide emergency services in such a dire situation.

Rachael Zaluzec, SVP for customer experience and brand and marketing at VW, said, “The family was thankfully reunited, but the crime and the process failure are heartbreaking for me. As a mom and an aunt, I can imagine how painful this incident must have been. Words can’t adequately express how truly sorry I am for what the family endured.”

“Volkswagen must and will do better for everyone that trusts our brand and for the law enforcement officials tasked with protecting us. In addition to a full investigation of what went wrong and actions taken to address the failure, we want to make it right for the future. Today, we are setting a new standard for customer peace of mind. As of June 1, we will make these connected vehicle emergency services free for five years as one significant step we can take as a commitment to our owners and their families,” Zaluzec said in a statement sent to Ars Technica.

Volkswagen has made a significant move by making its connected vehicle emergency service completely free. This action demonstrates the company’s remorse over the kidnapping incident and dedication to preventing a similar event from occurring again. Except for the MY2020 Passat, most VWs from the MY2020 model year or later can access connected services. Owners can sign up for five years of free Car-Net Safe and Secure from June. The feature connects to the emergency services using the vehicle’s onboard modem and the SOS button. An anti-theft alert is also present in many VW cars.



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