Volkswagen quietly becomes the largest automaker in the world

Posted on Tue Nov 17 2009


Volkswagen has overtaken Toyota as the world's largest auto manufacturer? That's hard to imagine here in the U.S., where Volkswagen is a weak player, but the German auto company has quietly bypassed its Japanese competitor, producing 4.4 million vehicles to date this year, compared to Toyota's 4 million. In part that's because VW took over Porsche and Toyota reduced production earlier this year. But VW also got a boost in Europe, where it is the dominant player, from state-backed cash-for-clunkers programs, and VW's luxury Audi brand continues to grow in the U.S. despite the lousy economy. (Last month, Audi sold 7,358 units, just a fraction off an all-time U.S. monthly sales record for the brand a year earlier.) The Wolfsburg company also has numbers on its side: VW is the largest car company in China, where it's had a presence since its first joint venture in 1984, and is also strong in Brazil. Not bad for a company whose signature brand once urged buyers to "Think small" and choose it over models offered by giants like General Motors—the world's largest auto company just three years ago, which has fallen to No. 3.

—Posted by Noreen O'Leary

Volkswagen spot out of Norway is a sweet commercial for bikes

Posted on Fri Nov 6 2009

Here's a different take on a car commercial. This Volkswagen ad, from TRY Advertising of Oslo, Norway, is devoid of the usual beauty shots and MPG claims. In fact, it barely shows the car at all. Instead, most of the focus is on Danny MacAskill, a Scottish lad who earned a measure of fame this year by putting a five-minute video of himself doing bicycle stunts to the tune of Band of Horses' "Funeral" on YouTube. This one has an equally cool song, The Joy Formidable's "Austere," but the Volkswagen Golf Estate's presence is so subtle that it's like VW is getting product placement in its own commercial. And then when MacAskill gets in the car, there's a freaking fly! What's up with that?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

VW Polo squares off against classic cars of the '50s in new spot

Posted on Wed Oct 7 2009

Hey, cool cats, check out this latest commercial for the Volkswagen Polo. It takes place back in the '50s and imagines a Marty McFly-type making the trip back in time. But instead of a DeLorean with a Flux Capacitor, he has a red VW, to which the local greasers react much like the apes seeing the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. As with a lot of those '50s tales, this one ends with a Big Race, which our hero naturally wins, and then gets the girl. While I support any motif that takes car commercials away from the usual mix of beauty shots and performance claims, I can't help thinking that those '50s cars just look so much cooler than today's cars. The VW Polo may be cool for 2009, but it can't compete with, say, a '59 Plymouth Fury.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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