Remember a few months ago, when VW made a big deal about bringing back the Rabbit nameplate to North America? Well, looks like the Wolfsburg boys have had a change of heart, because VW just announced they’re bringing the Golf name back to North America. I bet someone’s in trouble.
When this landed on my desk yesterday, at first I thought it was a joke, but then I read the press release and realized that VW is serious about this.
In a way, I agree with them. I thought bringing back the Rabbit moniker was a pretty damn mediocre idea. Dumping it this soon and returning back to the (now) world standard Golf nameplate looks bad, but makes more sense. One way or another, I bet someone in the marketing and/or branding department had one of the longest meetings of their life a few weeks ago. VW spent a lot of money on this, and no, I don’t mean for the tooling and putting the badges on the cars.
Name changes and branding stuff like this is HUGELY expensive. Most people don’t see it, but I have on a number of jobs in the past. Some firm decides that they need a new look, or the old logo is getting the wrong point across, so a whole, big, expensive machine gets cranked up. Usually an outside firm is hired, and they spend more money than you’d think possibly, and then the next thing you know, every company vehicle has a certain color stripe running down the side, and everybody gets a ream of new letter head delivered, whether they need it or not.
Sure, VW’s Golf-to-Rabbit-to-Golf was easier, just go back to the library and pull out the old logos, but you know there was more to it than that. There had to be focus groups, meetings, the art department got dragged into providing 2 or 4 or 67 “new look” Rabbit logos, just in case.
So for VW to do, and then un-do this is like taking off from L.A., heading towards Hawaii, realizing you want to go to Brazil, and then changing back for Hawaii. It wastes a lot of time and fuel (read: money,) and it makes the flight crew look foolish.
One things for sure, I’m glad I’m not the guy that suggested, “let’s revive the Rabbit name” a few months ago.
Here’s VW’s presser:
VOLKSWAGEN ANNOUNCES RETURN OF GOLF NAMEPLATE FOR U.S. MARKET
HERNDON, VA – Volkswagen of America, Inc. welcomes back the Golf nameplate with the arrival of the sixth generation Golf.
\”The Golf is an iconic nameplate for the Volkswagen Brand and it is known throughout the world,\” said Mark Barnes, COO, Volkswagen of America, Inc. \”The Golf is Volkswagen\’s best selling global nameplate with more than 26 million units sold in over 120 countries.\”
\”Making the change back to Golf is an important step in realigning with our global heritage\” Barnes added.
The new Golf had its world unveil at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The sixth generation Golf has been significantly redesigned and demonstrates Volkswagen\’s product strategy to refine the brand in all model lines. The Golf will have its U.S. debut at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. The Golf will go on sale in the fall of 2009.
Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world\’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe\’s largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, GLI, Eos, Passat, Passat wagon, CC, Tiguan, Touareg 2 and Routan through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. All 2009 Volkswagens come standard-equipped with Electronic Stabilization Program. This is important because the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called ESC the most effective new vehicle safety technology since the safety belt. Visit Volkswagen of America online at vw.com or www.media.vw.com to learn more.
Photo from Flickr user jessicafm