Volkswagen spent the most this year on advertising, compared to other automotive manufacturers listed in Advertising Age’s Top 100 spenders for 2016. This doesn’t surprise me, because after the Great Diesel Disaster and the massive fuel leak recall, their reputation has taken quite a hit, and a typical response would be to boost marketing in an effort to save their image.
It’s unfortunate, however, that they didn’t put a bit less into advertising and a bit more into product design. I used to think of VW as a fun and sporty car to own and drive, having owned 2 Cabrios and choosing a used Jetta when my son was ready to drive. They looked cute, and they had a lot under the hood in terms of “get up and go”.
But after looking at their 2017 product lineup, there is nothing that catches my eye and makes me want to own one. The sedans are three different sizes of the same car, and although their are 5 different SUV models (which seems a lot to me) it’s hard to tell the difference between most of them.
Although they list five compact cars, there are really only two; the Beetle and 4 versions of the Golf. And even the Beetle appears to be morphing into just another Golf, slowly losing its traditional humped roof in an effort to be more aerodynamic. I won’t be surprised if before long it also loses its familiar rounded hood and headlights.
I hope that in the future, instead of trying to make us forget about the mistakes they have made, they put some effort into helping us remember the days of “Fahrvergnügen” (German for “driving enjoyment”), when driving a VW was a unique and fun experience. A Cabrio with all of the tech available in today’s models would be a start in the right direction, in my opinion.