You have to hand it to Volkswagen. Imagine your company has spent decades producing ground-breaking advertising campaigns and has managed to entirely transform itself in the public’s perception (particularly impressive when you consider that the Volkswagen was enthusiastically backed by Hitler). By 2015, Volkswagen is synonymous with trustworthiness and good value for money.  Then, in a matter of weeks, your company manages to destroy all of the goodwill that it has spent the past few decades painstakingly building up.

In September the news broke that Volkswagen cars actually produce much higher emissions than had previously been claimed by the company; but the real hammer blow to the firm’s reputation was the revelation that the stats had been deliberately falsified by the auto-maker. Amid headlines about fines running into the billions, mega-lawsuits and the potential recall of millions of vehicles, the CEO of Volkswagen resigned and other executives were either sacked or suspended pending review. In less than 3 weeks, Volkswagen’s share price has plummeted by close to 50%, from 162.40 on Friday September 18th to around the high 80’s on Monday 5th October.

The firm has bought full page ads in German newspapers pledging to rebuild trust, and the newly appointed CEO will be outlining this week how he plans to take the company forward and move past the scandal. However, does the slight rebound that Volkswagen experienced on Wednesday and Thursday suggest that the stock price has seen its floor? There are certainly analysts out there – most specifically at UBS – who believe that the time is ripe to buy Volkswagen stock. However, the potential for further revelations, as well as the fact that the full force of the law has not yet been brought to bear on Volkswagen, suggests that investors may choose to exercise a level of caution.

In the meantime, various other car companies have suffered part of the fallout from the Volkswagen saga amidst heightened investor suspicion of the auto industry in general. Fellow German car company Daimler-Benz, for example, is trading more than 10% lower than it was before the emissions story broke.

An interesting element of the Volkswagen story that has not seen a lot of focus is the effect that the news has had on Suzuki. The Japanese auto-maker was trading at 4,083 on September 9th – this week its stock price was at 3,658. Why would Suzuki in particular be feeling the squeeze? This may have something to with the fact that just prior to the emissions revelations, Volkswagen and Suzuki ended a long-running dispute regarding a 20% stake that Volkswagen had owned in the Japanese car firm. Suzuki paid $3.8 billion to reclaim its stake, but investor reaction over the past few weeks suggests that the excruciatingly ill-timed buy-back may have cost the Japanese company far more than it might have needed to pay had it simply waited a few days; the feeling seems to be that a reeling Volkswagen might have potentially been far more amenable to a quick and painless settlement at a lower price.

As things stand, it will take a highly effective strategy to rebuild Volkswagen’s reputation. Can the firm do it? Certainly. But it won’t be a quick job, that’s for sure.