This industrial shouldn’t be a circa 1970 follow-up to 1969’s notorious Woodstock Music & Artwork Honest. It’s not a the results of entrepreneurs within the 1980s wanting again 10 or 15 years. It’s not Volkswagen’s late-to-the-party retro tackle counterculture. No, that is Volkswagen’s Folks First Guarantee industrial from 2017. As we speak.
It’s a wholehearted embrace of Volkswagen’s historical past. The Microbus. An authentic Beetle. Hippies.
“I believe what’s highly effective about it,” Volkswagen of America’s advertising and marketing director Greg Tebbutt says, “is we’ve received a heritage story that’s distinctive to us and solely we will inform.”
However there’s one thing conspicuously absent from the 60-second “Rain” spot.
Volkswagen launched its first three-row utility automobile, the Atlas, in Might of this 12 months. The corporate’s second-generation Tiguan arrived in america in July. These have been the 2 autos to institute Volkswagen’s six-year, 72,000-mile complete guarantee, a guaranty that was prolonged throughout the mannequin lineup in late September.
The Volkswagen Jetta is the model’s best-selling mannequin within the U.S. market. Gross sales of the Volkswagen Golf household are up 35 p.c in a shrinking market because of the success of the Golf’s two-pronged wagon method. Beetle gross sales are rising, too.
None of these vehicles make an look in Volkswagen’s “Rain” industrial.
In actual fact, no new automobile makes an look in Volkswagen’s “Rain” industrial.
“I don’t suppose there are various producers that may do a 60-second industrial with out exhibiting any new vehicles,” Tebbutt tells Automotive Information. However Volkswagen, it’s honest to say, shouldn’t be Hyundai. Volkswagen has a previous on which it may derive energy. Subsequently Volkswagen hyperlinks its guarantee — perceived within the client’s thoughts as “standing behind its merchandise” — with pristine editions of beloved older fashions reasonably than a bevy of present autos that have been and are indelibly linked with emissions fraud.
Is the newly expanded guarantee a direct response to the general public’s notion of Volkswagen post-scandal? Volkswagen’s self-inflicted diesel emissions wounds oozed forth in September 2015, following durations of steep decline. By 2016, a file 12 months for the American auto business however Volkswagen’s fourth consecutive 12 months of decline, Volkswagen of America gross sales had plunged 26 p.c over a four-year span. Volkswagen bought 115,185 fewer autos final 12 months than in 2012.
“There was clearly harm to the model, however actually the model has recovered from a gross sales perspective,” Tebbutt says, suggesting that the guarantee is only a “shot in our arm” to get to the following stage. Whereas Volkswagen lengthy since gave up on the concept of producing 800,000 annual U.S. gross sales by 2018, the model needs to personal 5 p.c of the U.S. market by 2020. Volkswagen’s present U.S. market share is a tick under 2 p.c.
However wait a second, did he say Volkswagen is recovered from a gross sales perspective? That should depend upon what your definition of recovered is. Volkswagen bought 438,133 autos in 2012 and is on monitor in 2017 to promote 438,133 352,300 autos. That’s fewer even than Volkswagen managed in 2014, two years into the model’s steep decline.
Recovered? Volkswagen reported 389,237 gross sales from the center of its lineup in 2012: Jetta, Passat, Golf, Beetle, and Tiguan. These fashions are on monitor for fewer than 320,000 gross sales in 2017, an 18-percent drop.
Recovered? Even with the Atlas serving to out, Volkswagen bought a complete of 32,112 autos in September 2017. That’s down 13-percent in contrast with September 2012, leading to 2.1 p.c market share, not the three.1 p.c the model achieved at this date on the calendar 5 years in the past.
Recovered? Positive, in the event you’re evaluating this 12 months’s Volkswagen of America gross sales outcomes with disastrous outcomes from the final two years.
Guarantee choices just like the one Volkswagen has taken will, nevertheless, present the shot within the arm Volkswagen is on the lookout for, significantly now that Volkswagen is starting to supply the sort of SUV lineup American customers are on the lookout for: an enormous Atlas, an enlarged Tiguan, and an inexpensive Tiguan Restricted. Thus, whereas the corporate stays intently linked within the minds of customers with the diesel dishonest, maybe celebrating the glories of yesteryear isn’t such a nasty concept.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Fact About Vehicles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.web. Comply with on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.