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'Das Auto' ist zu Ende

News, 24 December 2015

WOLFSBURG: As part of its efforts to recover from the "Dieselgate" scandal, automaker Volkswagen is revising its long-running global advertising slogan and will no longer use the tagline "Das Auto".

The phrase – which simply means "the car" – worked as long as the marque was seen as an example of German engineering excellence, but is now regarded as carrying an air of arrogance that does not sit well with Volkswagen's current situation.

The automaker's admission in late September that it had rigged diesel emissions tests led to a slump in brand value and a loss in market share.

It also faces costs of up to €30bn in fines and lawsuits as well as the cost of recalls to fix affected vehicles.

"Wherever our logo appears in future, it will be backed by the new brand slogan 'Volkswagen'," a spokesman said. "The slogan will be rolled out in stages across the world."

According to Reuters, a closed-door meeting of 2,000 group managers in Dresden last week discussed future strategy and a new advertising campaign. During the course of this event, Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess described the old slogan as absolutist.

One of those present said that VW needed to show humility, adding that not only was "Das Auto" pretentious, it didn't convey the company's technological ambitions in areas such as electrically-powered vehicles.

Last week the company also had a management shake-up at the top level, which Matthias Müller, the new chief executive, said would "speed up the decision-making process, reduce complexity and increase efficiency".

"We are focusing in particular on the technological changes that impact the future of mobility, from electrification to the digital transformation," he added.

The atmosphere of change is also reaching into unexpected areas, as Reuters noted that at the Dresden meeting "male staff were encouraged to remove their ties - an unheard of suggestion in the buttoned-up Winterkorn era".

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