'Das Auto' done at VW

A Reuters piece looks at the internal public relations efforts at Volkswagen as the German automaker slogs through its far-reaching emissions scandal. The company is on "an image offensive" that wants to project "new-found humility," and the eight-year-old tagline "Das Auto" is not the way to do it. At a meeting in Dresden attended by 2,000 Group managers to discuss the future of the brand, the new tagline also got an airing: it is simply the word, "Volkswagen."

A PR spokesman told Reuters, "Wherever our logo appears in future, it will be backed by the new brand slogan 'Volkswagen'," which will be a global initiative. "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 electric cars. The same spokesman said "Das Auto" isn't totally dead yet, but we don't expect to see much of it.

The meeting and new campaign are part of an attempt by VW to stay ahead of it various crises around the world, or at least current with them. Almost everyone has called the brand out for being slow with information on what happened and what it's going to do. This has paid benefits in that, by taking its time, the automaker could provide a fuller response to a deeper picture of the scandal instead of having to comment on every new development. Still, everyone will hope early 2016 brings more timely, definitive answers, and the authorities in several countries will want names and dates.

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