As official media and Shanghai VW have so far refused to clarify the circumstances of the July 17 car crash that killed top Shanghai VW executives, online communities in China are buzzing with speculation as to the real cause and implications of the fatal accident.
Official reports are brief, providing few details. They confirm only the following: Three top executives of Shanghai Volkswagen–General Manager Liu, Jian, Chief of Public Relations Zeng, Menglin, and head of the quality control department — as well as a manager of an advertising company were killed on July 17 in a car crash. The accident took place in Guazhou of Gansu Province in western China, close to the UNESCO world heritage site of Dunhuang Mogao Caves. The four victims were riding in a VW Tiguan and hit a truck. The crash site is about 2 km away from a toll station.
According to unconfirmed reports, the Tiguan was speeding at 220 km/h. This, however, has been challenged by many. For one thing, Tiguan has a top speed of only 200 km/h according to VW. For another, it is hard to explain why the executives went for such a high speed when a toll station is only 2 km away.
Some suggest that Shanghai VW is trying to cover up the real cause, some design defects of Tiguan, by citing speeding. As Tiguan was released only a few months ago and currently a best selling SUV in China, Shanghai VW seems to have a strong motivation to do so.
Netizens are also pouring complaints in their comments: VW has been flooding the Chinese market with obsolete models of Jetta, Santana and Passat, and overcharging for new models like Tiguan.
The official web site of Shanghai VW has taken on a gray theme ever since the accident, although it posts no text message about the accident.
(below: Liu, Jian, the late GM of shanghai-VW, killed in the accident)