Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn admits openly that Honda was a “…role model for us for many years once,” but now that VW has come into its own, the German automaker is actively seeking to steal some sales from Honda in the US.
Honda has long been known as that old faithful brand, not flashy or stylish but reliable and safe with a fun-to-drive element. Volkswagen is trying to prey on these ideals, and despite more mainstream models like the 2012 Jetta, its looking to add a sporty edge to keep its young customer base happy as well as providing smart, safe, reliable cars for its consumers. According to a survey conducted by consumer research group Strategic Vision, Honda was the brand that gave up the most sales to VW last year because, “A lot of new VW buyers were Honda owners who no longer wanted to see 10 other exact same cars every time they came to a stop at the traffic light,” said Vice President of Strategic Vision Chris Chaney.
The trend that Volkswagen hopes to build on started in 2011, with Honda’s market share tumbling down two percent and Volkswagen’s Passat and Golf gaining 83 percent and 44 percent in sales numbers respectively. To continue its upswing, VW will need to focus on the US market and other emerging markets, as sales in Europe are predicted to keep on plummeting.
Volkswagen has made some steps in its American invasion which show the company’s commitment to the market, like opening a new sales office in Dallas, and an assembly plant in Tennessee. Volkswagen also recently acquired Tim Mahoney, the main marketing man at Subaru of America, to build VW advertising campaigns that will sell cars. “In a world of instant entertainment, companies can overestimate what a person can absorb in a 30 second spot that flashes over a TV screen,” said Mahoney.
Volkswagen is fighting an uphill battle, but they have made some head way in 2011, and hope to continue championing German engineered cars over Japanese autos in 2012.
[Source: Automotive News]