With its two new Beetle and Passat models, Volkswagen is looking to grow its market position in Mexico and move 130,000 units, which would represent a 12 percent increase over last year for the automaker, said Ralf Berckham, executive vice president of marketing for the company’s Mexico operations.
Although the world economy is not in its best moment, auto companies have remained strong especially in the Latin American market, and the car industry plans to move 880,000 units in Mexico alone, says Berckham.
The German automaker will focus its efforts on positioning these two models during the coming year:
The 2012 Beetle has already kicked off its exclusive production in Mexico, where it seeks to turn out 5,000 units. The new model is a redesign and tribute to the legendary VW Beetle launched in 1978. The Beetle was produced in the company’s manufacturing plant in Puebla, Mexico, until 2003, when the carmaker decided to halt production on the car. Up until 2003, sales of the classic "Beetle" and the new Beetle, which was launched in '98, topped 21.5 million units worldwide.
For the launch of the 2012 Beetle, the carmaker sought to create a design based on the original Beetle rather than the model released in 1998. The goal for the new 2012 Beetle was "to design a new, original model that is both modern and a tribute to the original design of an automobile that marked an entire era,” said Volkswagen design chiefs Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff. “In fact, if we take the two cars — the first Beetle and new 2012 Beetle — and put them side by side, you will see that the lines, especially the back, are almost identical. There is almost nothing that remains of the 1998 New Beetle. The seed for the new design was that of the original model."
The launch of the "New New Beetle," or the 21st century Beetle, as it has also been dubbed by the company, is based on concepts that emphasize its simplicity, self-confidence and "clean sporty lines." Marketing strategies for the 2012 Beetle look to expand the car’s audience beyond its typical consumer (female, around 40 years old), which has traditionally been attracted to the classic Beetle Sedan, by reaching out to men.
"The car has a lower profile and is also much wider; the front hood is longer and the windshield is moved further back, with a much greater inclination. The next generation Beetle is bolder, more dynamic," say the designers.
"Tell me your name" is the slogan for one of the company’s global marketing strategies for the new model. For each place in the world where the "New Century Beetle" will be marketed, the customer can add an optional country-specific nickname on the back of the car, such as Escarabajo, Käfer, Beetle, Vocho, Coccinelle, Fusca, or Maggiolino.
Tim Ellis, vice president of marketing at Volkswagen of America, said that "people are waiting for the car and its advertising campaigns. We hope to not disappoint them with typical car advertising. The campaign should be iconic, proud, well thought out, and above all, fun."
The global campaign is called "It's a Beetle. But it's not." Deutsch (Interpublic) is Volkswagen’s U.S. agency.
Tribal DDB Latina, the interactive unit of DDB Latina, just won the VW digital account in Latin America after a hard-fought bid with several agencies. DDB Latina also handles the Volkswagen account in Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The car will be available in three equipment lines. In Europe, America, and Australia/New Zealand, Volkswagen will launch all three model levels: the base model ("Beetle"), the midline model ("Design"), and the top-end model ("Sport"). Each equipment line has an entirely independent character. For its release in Europe and the U.S., Volkswagen has created two very special versions, the "Black Turbo" and "White Turbo," which are based on a high-performance 2.0 TSI engine.
With respect to the Passat, VW seeks to position it in the Mexican market as a model with innovations and an affordable price, with the goal of exceeding its 110,000 units sold last year. This model is constructed and imported from VW’s manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Another of Volkswagen Mexico’s strategies for next year is to maintain the leadership of its Jetta model, which positioned itself as the best-selling car in that market, outperforming the Tsuru. The carmaker's sales goal for the Jetta this year is 50,000 units.