The United States still hasn’t got the Volkswagen Golf V in its market yet, a car which most markets have been selling for a few years. And this week, at the New York International Auto Show, Volkswagen of America announced that the Golf V won’t be the Golf—it will revert back to its original American name (1974–84) of Rabbit (“hat tip” to Uneasy Silence).
Volkswagen’s US Golf sales peaked in 1979, and in 1984, with a global obsession to create uniform brands (Nissan was a good example, abandoning Datsun around this time), the car was renamed Golf, aligning it with the rest of the world.
But VW sales in the Golf sector—yes, some people call it that—are down not because of the name, but because of the delayed introduction of this model, and the company’s failure to expand into niches that Americans want. SUVs and minivans may be passé now, but VW never struck while the iron was hot. You might even say its customer service left something to be desired.
Indeed, it probably has a line-up that appeals to Americans in 2006 and 2007, including the upcoming Jetta Hybrid. Imports from Brazil could bolster its compact and sub-compact line-up. Importing the SpaceFox, the tiny MPV designed to combat the Chevrolet Meriva there, could be an innovation that could take Scion and other trendy brands by surprise. Ditto the Golf Plus. Or Rabbit Plus. If VW had the guts to do it.
Renaming has seldom been shown to solve a problem long-term. And if Volkswagen thinks going back to 1974 and saying there were nostalgic memories of the Rabbit name, I would argue that the 10-year life of the old nameplate in one country is nothing compared to the 22-year life of the Golf name there, reinforced by Americans who travel overseas. If imports are making gains in the US, why depart from a name that makes the brand seem more foreign?
And it can’t just be because Rabbit is a cute, friendly name like Apple. If you look at the most butch and expensive Golfs, I can’t imagine them being anything like rabbits. Not even the Were-Rabbit from Wallace & Gromit.
The change signals a trend away from the sense of globalization, and I suppose I should brace myself for the return of the Volkswagen Dasher for the buyer saying, ‘What the heck is a passat?’
Del.icio.us tags: Volkswagen VW Golf renaming brand globalization Posted by Jack Yan, 22:40
Interesting, I'd lke to know what you think of the Scion marketing Jack?
I dont suppose you could recommend a realtively inexpensive but skilled photographer based in Auckland?? Album cover work....
Amanda Dorcil at Catwalk Studios would be fab. She’s top-quality and award-winning but reasonable about prices. Call 377-5754 or (027) 257-3996 (these are on her site so I am not divulging private info!). Scion marketing: didn’t make much of an impression on me at the time. I think it’s more the fact they got the product right and predicted an anti-car movement in California. I will have to Google it to refresh my memory on what Toyota did.Post a Comment
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