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Vw Beetle Hbr Article Essay

1129 words - 5 pages

The marketing team has asked how VW could back the excitement it once had in the marketplace, while updating the brand's image to appeal to anew generation of consumers. The answer is the new VW Beetle. Our marketing team collaborated with Arnold Communications and are poised to position the VW Beetle with one foot in the past and the other on the accelerator heading for the future. Newsweek recently indicated that the new Beetle is a marketer's version of "Mission Impossible". This is due, in large part, to the fact that the positioning of the new Beetle could either be defined as a niche product or could simple be a part of a single-product successes VW experienced during the late 1950's.Beginning in the late 1950s, VW experienced a number of single product successes in the US market. These successes included the Beetle, the Rabbit, the Microbus, and the Karmann Gia sports couple. In fact, by the end of 1954, a total of 8,913 Volkswagens were purchased and were being driven by American consumers. Despite being seen as the automotive icon of the 1960s, US VW sales declined from over a half a million cars in the 1970s to less than 50,000 cars by 1993. (exhibit 1) A number of factors contributed to this:ćThe appreciation of the Deutsche Mark against the dollar threatened to price VW cars out of the marketćNew competitive threats from Japanese brandsćThe 1982 recession; drop in oil pricesćDeclining popularity of hatchbacksćRequirements of new environmental legislation, ceasing production of the BeetlećFailure to keep in step with the American consumers changing demandsćSupply constraints at a Mexican plantDespite the fact that sales were expected to pick up once supply constraints were lifted at the Mexican plant, it would not be enough to bring sales back to the levels seen in the 80s and 90s. In response to this challenge, VW began working with Arnold Communications to bring back the excitement while updating the brand's image to appeal to a new generation of consumers. This was accomplished by the launch of the "Drivers Wanted" ads. The new campaign captured what it meant to drive a Volkswagen; rationally it was the only brand that offered the benefits of German engineering affordably, and emotionally it represented a completely different driving experience. The brand was now positioned as a unique driving experience not just on the car's ability to get people from point A to point B. Overall, the campaign took the less traditional approach to marketing to consumers. Rather than focus on a defined, targeted audience, the campaign focused on a feeling, an experience that crossed cohorts. This contributed to the success of the "Drivers Wanted" ads, and ultimately led to higher sales when coupled with attractive lease-financing deals.Another strategy to bring back slumping sales was the redesign of the 60s Beetle. The new vision for the car was to combine the...

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