To the arched eyebrows of Germany’s ad industry, auto giant Volkswagen has selected independent Hamburg agency Grabarz & Partner to handle the launch of its new D1 marque, VW’s first foray into the top end of the luxury car market.

The Hamburg shop – which employs only forty-eight staff and lies at number 85 in the German ad league with a gross income of $2.5 million – will also take charge of the launch of the new Passat W8 model.

Grabarz fought off prestigious competition for the account, with three other shops also believed to have made it through to the final – Berlin’s DDB Worldwide, the incumbent on VW’s $170m German duties; German shop Rempen & Partner in a joint pitch with Boston-based Arnold Worldwide (which also handles VW’s US account); and Leagas Delaney in Hamburg.

The triumphant agency’s major clients include IKEA Germany, Deutsche Eisenbahn insurance and a couple of Gruner & Jahr publications. Commented the shop’s founder Andreas Grabarz: “We are more than extremely happy.”

It is as yet unclear what the award means for VW’s relationship with DDB.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily