Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

VW Seeks to Turn Nostalgia Into Sales in U.S.

22 posts in this topic

VW Seeks to Turn Nostalgia Into Sales in U.S.

FRANKFURT — It is nice to be an iconic automobile brand in the United States. But as Volkswagen knows better than most carmakers, it’s even nicer to actually sell cars.

While the rare old VW bus or vintage Beetle can be spotted chugging down the byways of America, nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills.

“You have California, the hippies, Woodstock and all the great memories Americans have for VW,” Stefan Jacoby, the chief executive of the Volkswagen Group of America, said in an interview. “But when it comes to the conversion — ‘Will I actually buy this car?’ — we lose our customers.”

Wes Brown, an auto industry analyst at Iceology, a market research firm in Los Angeles that has done work for the German company, puts it more bluntly. The vehicles look good enough, Mr. Brown said, but consumers “don’t know what the brand stands for.”

Mr. Jacoby is trying to change that. As baby boomers reminisce about the summer of Woodstock 40 years later, he is trying to devise a future for a brand in the largest automobile market in the world, at a time when many Americans associate VW more with the past than the present.

more at link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/22/business...ref=todayspaper

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess promoting the 'free love' aspect of the '60's could be useful for selling their mountains of Routan's.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trouble with using nostolgia is that VW has long ago abandoned the cheap, reliable transportation mantra (on both counts)... so there's nothing to get nostolgic over. Microbus concept was a huge missed opportunity, and the beetle has only been a withered oddity, counter to the rest of their lineup.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For instance, there will be more and different types of cup holders — a must-have for American consumers.

A different suspension will yield a smoother ride. Folding mirrors, a necessity in tight European streets, will not be standard. The acceleration and braking pedals will be farther apart in response to American complaints that it is easy to accidentally press both simultaneously.

And some other device will replace the balky dials used to recline seats in European cars. Market research in the United States found that “women break their fingernails or scratch their hands,” Mr. Jacoby said.

In their quest to adapt to local markets, hopefully they won't dumb down their cars, or in other words, remove what makes a VW a VW. If people want cupholders, soft suspension, and seat recline levers, they can always buy a Toyota.

Edited by pow
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A luxury Volkswagen is still an oxymoron, in my book. VW should stick to their roots, with nothing more expensive than a Passat CC (and even that car is borderline too expensive). Their current European van, and its variants, should be still sold here. Those campers are still cool. Put the diesel engine in there. The Routan is a total sell-out to VW loyalists... serves them right it is not selling.

Give us the European Polo 3 and 5-door in gas, diesel and Twincharged versions. Give us a Polo with roll-up windows, a hand-crank sunroof, steel wheels... something cheap, yet German-solid... that is what ppl still associate VW with... inexpensive, German, solid little cars that run forever. Even a stripper Beetle is not sold here anymore. How about a black, diesel Beetle without all the power options? THAT IS A GENUINE VW in a lot of ppl's eyes yet.

There is too much fluff in today's VW!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree 'blu.

However, until they can actually get a dealer service network that can fix more than they damage when you take your car in, along with an autotrajic that works well and is reliable everything else is in vain.

Eos, CC, Golf (Rabbit-being renamed Golf), GTI, Jetta, the Euro vans, all brilliant...but with a few fatal flaws.

I still want a diesel Golf if they bring them out as they are supposed to, but I will believe it when I see it on a dealer lot.

Chris

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drove an '07 Jetta rental..it was pretty decent overall..but using the ratchet thingy on the side of the seat to recline seemed strange. Why not normal buttons for the power seat controls??

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The seat adjustment is a little quirky. But I could live with that.

Chris

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The seat adjustment is a little quirky. But I could live with that.

Chris

Yeah...I guess I'm just used to the intuitive seat-shaped controls Chrysler and MB have used for years. They work well.

Rob

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Passat has apparently stuck with that giant plastic Thermos lid knob for a while- I drove an '02 with it. Not the easiest to work and located in an ergonomically-oblivious spot, too.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Passat has apparently stuck with that giant plastic Thermos lid knob for a while- I drove an '02 with it. Not the easiest to work and located in an ergonomically-oblivious spot, too.

I actually prefer it to most levers, as it's infinitely adjustable. The G8 uses the same design as well.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I actually prefer it to most levers, as it's infinitely adjustable. The G8 uses the same design as well.

Strange the G8 would have something like that. Why not just normal controls like these, preferably mounted on the door instead of the seat. I really like the seat shaped controls MB and Chrysler use..Ford has similar in some models also. Haven't noticed GM controls lately, it seems every GM rental I've driven in in recent years has manual seats. :(

4738_st0640_065.jpg

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a lot of what blu said is exactly it.

they do not need a phaeton or a rhouton.

why not a rabbit and or a golf, and diesels and simple beetles. a vanagon or a bus. i would even grant a scirocco.

VW should abandon silliness like the Touareg. The Eos should just be a golf convertible. The Tiguan i used to think would sell big here but i never see em. I think people don't get that one either.

Golf, Rabbit, Beetle, GTI, etc.

why doesn't VW have a great non turbo four in its core products here?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/22/business...ref=todayspaper

The Chattanooga plant will be ready to produce cars in 2011, a date that offers at least one advantage vis-à-vis American and Japanese competitors.

“They can choose their moment to get going in the United States,” said Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Center for Automotive Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. “They were not already producing cars as the market collapsed.”

So far the company has had mixed success with its model lineup. The Routan, a minivan made in partnership with Chrysler, has not done well. The company has gotten more traction with the Tiguan, a small sport utility vehicle, and with variations of the Jetta, its four-door sedan.

The Jetta platform will provide the basis for VW’s new workhorse for the American market, and the company is “pretty much convinced” that Jetta will be the name as well, Mr. Jacoby said. But he promised a retooling that would try to blend European design and allure with Americans’ practical needs.

For instance, there will be more and different types of cup holders — a must-have for American consumers.

A different suspension will yield a smoother ride. Folding mirrors, a necessity in tight European streets, will not be standard. The acceleration and braking pedals will be farther apart in response to American complaints that it is easy to accidentally press both simultaneously.

And some other device will replace the balky dials used to recline seats in European cars. Market research in the United States found that “women break their fingernails or scratch their hands,” Mr. Jacoby said.

Volkswagen is also slowly asserting firm control over its dealer network, long a source of irritation among American buyers. They complained about bad after-sales service on top of quality problems, such as electrical systems, with VW cars.

After a $3 billion investment over the last few years, roughly 50 percent of VW’s 580 dealers in the United States “sell only VW cars,” meaning their showrooms and service facilities are all under direct VW management. Another 30 to 35 percent will soon be, Mr. Jacoby said, adding that the company’s internal research shows it is getting a handle on quality issues.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VW likely can't return to 'simpler' vehicles because the Koreans have that market cornered more or less. For what a basic Vee Dub would cost, you could probably pick up a decently loaded Hyundai, which also has their warranty, and likely fewer reliability gremlins.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
VW likely can't return to 'simpler' vehicles because the Koreans have that market cornered more or less. For what a basic Vee Dub would cost, you could probably pick up a decently loaded Hyundai, which also has their warranty, and likely fewer reliability gremlins.

Ya, the cheap end of the market in the US seems to belong to Kia and Hyundai.

And in Europe, VW is more at the Opel (middle market) level than the Chevywoo level...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ya, the cheap end of the market in the US seems to belong to Kia and Hyundai.

And in Europe, VW is more at the Opel (middle market) level than the Chevywoo level...

VW is classy mainstream. They have SEAT and Skoda for Chevywoo, and even those cars are solid; they just lack the image.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
VW is classy mainstream. They have SEAT and Skoda for Chevywoo, and even those cars are solid; they just lack the image.

The recent SEATs seem quite nice from what I've seen in the magazines.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Local dealer actually has a manual transmission Heaven Blue Beetle on the lot. I was shocked. And a manual A5, too! Too many Routans sitting around, forever I fear. No new Golfs yet.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Passat has apparently stuck with that giant plastic Thermos lid knob for a while- I drove an '02 with it. Not the easiest to work and located in an ergonomically-oblivious spot, too.

Ah, the dial... That's only for manual seat controls... My passenger side has it. The driver's side? Industry standard seat shaped power controls...

The only problem is that they placed them a little too high and my rear end sometimes nudges it sitting down...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0