LONDON: Volkswagen has announced that 1.2m vehicles in the UK could be affected by the software used to rig diesel emissions tests and is setting up a "self-serve" process for owners to see if their car is one.

While the Volkswagen marque is the one most implicated, with more than 500,000 vehicles involved, the automaker's UK division said that 390,000 Audis, 130,000 Skodas and about 75,000 Seat cars would also need to be checked, the Financial Times reported.

Recent research by Rocket Fuel, an online marketing technology company, found that Volkswagen and Audi have – or had – particularly strong brand loyalty in the UK.

After analysing 270m advertising impressions across 43 automotive campaigns and surveying 329 UK car buyers, it concluded that Audi buyers were the most loyal, with 61% having previously owned the same brand.

Volkswagen came fourth in this ranking, on 41%, behind Mercedes-Benz (56%) and Alfa Romeo (51%).

Further, 28% of Volkswagen drivers cited brand as the most important factor in their decision to buy the car in the first place.

Only drivers of Alfra Romeos (36%), Audi (35%), Mazda (33%), and Honda (31%) were more brand conscious.

As Volkswagen sets out to contain the reputational damage it has sustained and to rebuild trust, it will need to rethink its marketing strategy, something that General Motors had to do when coping with bankruptcy following the financial crisis of 2008.

Its Reinvention campaign successfully conveyed the message that the business was listening to its customers and acting on its mission to put the customer first, make the substantial changes necessary to be viable, and to provide consumers with high quality products.

That required a co-ordinated research approach to deliver consumer insights at the right time and to build an accumulation of learnings that informed communications and enabled General Motors to emerge from bankruptcy within 40 days.

Data sourced from Financial Times, Rocket Fuel; additional content by Warc staff