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Volkswagen Cutting ‘Das Auto’ Ad Slogan

German maker continues effort to remake company's image.

by on Dec.28, 2015

Volkswagen is phasing out its "Das Auto" ad slogan as part of its effort to makeover its image in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal.

Volkswagen AG appears to be downing more bites of humble pie as it plans to revise its “Das Auto” advertising slogan to simply “Volkswagen” due to concerns over appearing too arrogant.

The move comes as the German automaker tries to claw its way out of the morass created by its diesel emissions scandal. The company’s public relations arm met with 2,000 senior executives in Germany recently to find ways to improve the company’s profile while debuting the effort it plans to introduce.

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The new campaign doesn’t entirely replace the 8-year-old “Das Auto” slogan, VW executives told Reuters, but it will be the primary tagline.

“Wherever our logo appears in future, it will be backed by the new brand slogan ‘Volkswagen’,” which will be a global initiative,” a PR executive told Reuters. “‘Das Auto,’ which has been with us since 2007, was thought to be ‘absolutist’ and too ‘pretentious’ by carrying connotations that only VW could define what a car is.

“Nor did it fully convey the move toward more technology in conventional vehicles, and EVs. ‘Das Auto’ isn’t totally dead yet, but we don’t expect to see much of it.”

VW’s latest move is part of a larger wave of actions to show the automaker understands the impact of its actions. Many have pushed the maker to move more quickly with the announcement of its plans to fix the affected vehicles or deal with the possibility it may need to reimburse owners for the lost value of their vehicles.

However, VW has been very deliberate in its moves to ensure it only needs to make one “correction” rather than jumping around creating even more distrust with consumers. Prior to the advertising change, the maker brought in attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who just wrapped up the victim’s compensation fund program for General Motors.

(VW hires victim compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg. For more, Click Here.)

The automaker established a $600 million fund for the victims and families of those killed or injured as a result of the automaker’s faulty ignition switch. Feinberg and his team oversaw the establishment and administration of the fund.

Feinberg also oversaw compensation funds following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“His extensive experience in handling such complex matters will help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our customers,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America.

Volkswagen has admitted cheating on emissions tests involving its 2.0-liter turbodiesel by using a so-called “defeat device” to significantly reduce pollution when the vehicle determined it was undergoing testing. It has separately acknowledged using illegal hardware in its 3.0-liter diesel models.  All told, more than 500,000 sold in the U.S. were impacted by the subterfuge.

(VW planning to show “completely new” battery-car at CES show next month. Click Here for details.)

The maker has since been hit with over 450 separate lawsuits filed on behalf of vehicle owners, shareholders and dealers. Most of those legal actions will be consolidated and heard by a federal judge in San Francisco. All told, the German automaker will have to defend itself against claims that could push into the billions of dollars.

VW has already taken steps to try to assuage U.S. customers. It is offering owners of vehicles equipped with the 2.0-liter diesel $1,000 in gift cards and credits at its dealerships.

The maker has not said specifically what sort of payout it will offer through the new fund, and it is likely to take “60 to 90 days” to figure out what compensation might be offered to those owners impacted by VW’s cheating.

VW has so far set aside more than $7 billion to cover costs, while also lining up $20 in credit from a consortium of banks. It has, meanwhile, made sharp cuts in spending plans and delayed or eliminated a variety of projects.

(VW report blames small group for diesel cheating. Click Here for the maker’s interim internal report.)

By some estimates, VW may eventually have to spend over $50 billion to put the diesel emissions scandal behind it. There are additional lawsuits overseas. The maker could face $18 billion in EPA fines over the 2.0-liter diesel rigging alone. And the U.S. Justice Department could seek additional penalties to settle its ongoing criminal probe.

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3 Responses to “Volkswagen Cutting ‘Das Auto’ Ad Slogan”

  1. GT101 says:

    It’s amazing that such a trivial exhaust emission issue on the VW diesel engines could lead to $50 billion dollars in costs yet GM’s defective ignition switch which was reportedly covered up and resulted in the deaths of over 100 people, is viewed as insignificant by comparison to a minute excessive diesel exhaust violation. If this isn’t a witch I don’t know what the definition of one is.

    Since there is almost no damages to VW owners as the vehicles are being repaired to meet all requirements, many of the lawsuits should be dismissed as fishing expeditions by the bottom feeders. It’s the remaining suits that will determine just how broken the U.S. judicial system is.
    No other country but the U.S. has threatened billion dollar fines. Other countries have mandated a proper repair and compliance of all engines and in some cases on the VW 1.4L gas engines where the mpg/CO emissions was slightly understated, VW has to pay the difference in taxation.

    How can the U.S. get away with their outrageous strong arm tactics and yet look the other way when 100+ people died from the GM ignition switch? I’m waiting to see how the EPA is going to defend their actions and losses to investors and many other people as a result of the grand standing over the minor emissions violation perpetuated by a small group of programmers and engineers within VW. Destroying innocent people’s lives over a totally insignificant emissions violations is incomprehensible. I think the EPA is going to be in court for the next several decades before they resolve this abuse of power.

  2. Chris Holman says:

    Hopefully it will end this company. It should never have existed, it is a result of the 3rd Reich and for that alone it should not exist and the record of SLAVE LABOR is abhorrent. And you continue to defend an outfit that admits the crime of cheating which no other’s have admitted to or been accused of. In their efforts they took advantage of customers and regulators it DOES NOT MATTER YOUR PERSONEL VIEWS THEY CHEATED! And they cost AMERICANS JOBS! If you cheat and gain market share that has to be at the expense of a NONE CHEATING ENTITY! So folks such as you have no problem with a foreign company coming into our nation and lying and cheating their way to success? How very PATRIOTIC OF YOU !!!

    • GT101 says:

      Chris – still hating, Huh ?

      You are going to be sadly disappointed that the outrageous behavior of the EPA and the over reaction about a trivial exhaust emissions violation is not going to put an end to a company that you HATE.

      Chris you seem to have a difficult time dealing with reality. You completely ignore that a group of people at GM covered up a defective ignition switch that resulted in the deaths of at least 100 people yet you believe a small group of people at VW who installed improper software that hurt no one, are the equivalent of axe murders.

      Did GM engineers who covered up the defective ignition switch that killed 100+ people commit a worse crime than a simple ECU software issue? No customer or regulator (sic) was taken advantage of. In fact VW diesel owners enjoyed better than EPA defined mpg. Unless they sold or traded their car at a discounted vs. fair market price, they have not suffered any losses at all. They were not defrauded by VW the corporation we were all deceived by a small group within VW.

      You need to get your facts straight. A small group of people within GM covered up an ignition switch that resulted in the deaths of over 100 people. A small group of people at VW wrote some illegal code into a series of VW four cyl. diesel engines that allowed a small excess volume of exhaust emissions that hurt absolutely no one. Do you understand the difference between 100+ deaths vs. a trivial exhaust emissions violation?

      How many jobs has GM, Ford and Chrysler/Fiat exported to Mexico, China and other countries? The loss of U.S. jobs as a result of the VW scandal is insignificant to the tens of thousands of U.S. jobs the Big Three have exported to generate greater annual multi-million dollar bonuses for their CEOs. GM even had the audacity to use the U.S. tax payer bailout money to expand GM’s operations in CHINA. So much for your naïve belief in patriotism…

      You don’t seem to care about the 650,000 VW employees who are being punished for the misdeeds of a small group of people within VW. You don’t seem to be concerned about the hundreds of thousands of non-VW employees that have had their world turned upside down by the EPA’s over reaction and grandstanding. You seem to live in an isolated world based on war time issues over 70 years ago.

      You really seem to be very confused about the FACTS of this case. Your distorted beliefs that the current day VW corporation has any real relationship to Nazi Germany, is puzzling. Should we hate the Japanese auto companies for bombing Pearl Harbor? How about we hate all people from the Southern U.S. as they are obviously offspring of Confederate soldiers. These people must be evil, right if they are descendants of the Confederate army?

      According to your beliefs the Asian car companies all came to the U.S. and achieved success via lying. Did you know that for the first five or so years that Asian cars were sold in the U.S. they rusted apart so fast in areas of the U.S. where they use salt on the roads in the Winter time that the cars literally fell apart in a couple years. Obviously the Asian car makers must have lied to people in the U.S. to achieve success based on cars that rust apart within a few years time, especially after bombing pearl Harbor.

      I don’t live in a fantasy world, I live in the real world. I can’t change what Hitler did or undue the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor or undue all of the innocent people who have died due to war. Hopefully we as a society learn from these terrible experiences so as to find better resolutions in the future. Living in the past does not change the past but it certainly prevents you from living in the present.

      What you don’t seem to comprehend is the VW exhaust emissions deal is totally insignificant event and the U.S. is the only country in the world that has over reacted and made all sorts of threats of billion dollar fines for a trivial incident. You think VW is horrible for a software issue but you have no issue with GM’s killing of 100+ people by covering up a defective ignition switch. You are BLINDED by your beliefs. It’s quite clear you have some issues going back to war time and that you are allowing these issues to distort your view of reality. Reality is not going to change to match you distorted views.

      Patriotism has nothing to do with what is right and what is wrong. I don’t support a small group within GM covering up a defective ignition switch that killed 100+innocent people nor do I support a small group within VW using improper software that injured no one. The damages to the victims and the proposed resolution in the two cases is so outrageous and unjustified as to clearly be a witch hunt against VW.

      Just as evil people in the past have burned people they believed to be witches, the EPA is trying to effectively do the same over a minute exhaust emissions violation. The EPA’s action are unjustifiable IMO and I’m certain they will be held accountable in due time.