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'Das Auto' Nicht Mehr: VW drops slogan in wake of TDI scandal

by Justin King

The catchphrase is now considered potentially arrogant in light of the emissions cheating fiasco.

Volkswagen's future advertising campaigns will no longer center on the 'Das Auto' slogan.

The company plans to simplify its branding to simply 'Volkswagen' alongside the iconic VW logo, a spokesman confirmed to Reuters. The revamped marketing will be rolled out in stages globally.

No explicit reason was given for dropping the catchphrase, which translates to "The Car" and hints at the VW's pride in German engineering, however the decision is presumably associated with the diesel emissions scandal. Executives are said to have worried that it could be interpreted as arrogant as the company works to repair its image.

Previous reports have blamed the TDI fiasco on an arrogant culture within VW's engineering and management ranks. Workers have been accused of scoffing at US emissions regulations, though unattainable demands from uncompromising upper management may have been a more powerful factor. In any case, some potential buyers may wonder why the automaker cheated for years without apparent concern that regulators would eventually catch on.

Aside from the renewed focus on humility to restore VW's core brand image, the company has also vowed to invest more in electric vehicles. The 'Clean Diesel' slogan is now viewed as disingenuous, and EVs provide a chance for the automaker to gain back some green credibility. In light of the shift, 'Das Auto' may not mesh with the desired connotation of innovation and flexibility.

The company has not yet publicly disclosed full details of its internal investigation, nor the proposed fix for US-market four-cylinder TDI vehicles. Both announcements could bring more public-relations trouble as the rebranding efforts move forward.

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