Volkswagen AG plans to tweak the brand’s logo for the first time since 2012, as it prepares for the electric-car era and tries to burnish an image tarnished by the diesel-cheating scandal.
The new logo will be unveiled next year, in time for the German carmaker’s plans for an aggressive rollout of electric vehicles, Jochen Sengpiehl, the brand’s chief marketing officer, said Monday at a press briefing in Berlin. In a sign of the times, it’ll be updated to work on car fronts as well as smartphone screens, he said. VW’s emblem, last tweaked six years ago with a more three-dimensional look, has changed only modestly since the manufacturer’s resurrection after World War II.
“The brand is not in good shape compared to previous years,” as the marque lost some of its emotional appeal by trying to be “too German,” said Sengpiehl. “It’s not only because of the diesel scandal.”
VW will also expand the use of digital and social media to more finely tune its marketing, especially as it seeks to convince skeptical consumers to switch to battery-powered vehicles. Giving the brand a fresher image is key to making good on Volkswagen’s 20 billion-euro ($25 billion) push into electric cars.
The goal is to make VW more approachable and less stiff as well as highlight innovations to justify a higher price tag for the brand’s vehicles, according to Sengpiehl, who rejoined Volkswagen in September after a stint with rival Hyundai Motor Co. To this end, Volkswagen is inviting communications and advertising agencies to pitch for its creative business in the coming months. The company plans to set up marketing hubs in its main regions that can tailor messages and react more quickly to changes.
The 12-brand auto giant is seeking to move past the diesel crisis under new Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Diess, who took charge on Friday and will continue to oversee VW, the group’s largest unit by sales. The namesake brand will be the focal point of the company’s electric-car push. The rollout starts with the I.D. hatchback in 2020, which will be followed by an SUV, minivan and sedan.
“The big challenge is: How do we get people into the electric world,” said Sengpiehl. “We want people to have fun with us. We need to get more colorful.”