Everything is different in Wolfsburg: VW reinvents itself

With the diesel scandal went at VW an era to an end, for several years, the brand is in the process of reinventing itself. At this year’s IAA the electric offensive starts with the ID.3 and a fresh logo heralds a new brand appearance.

A large, windowless room with oversized video screen, in the heart of the Wolfsburg VW Design Center, right next to the office of the chief creative Klaus Bischoff. Here is presented to the board, which should come in a few years on the street, here is written automotive history – or prevented. They call this place Walhalla, which sounds like fighting men and old heroes, Winterkorn and Piëch. The VW grandees are now history, the diesel scandal has done it. But the Walhalla has stayed, and these days the future of Volkswagen will be presented there. On a turntable, the ID.3 shows for the first time to a small audience, its big appearance has the compact Stromer only in a few weeks at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.

A departure that is urgently needed
Even before the diesel scandal, Volkswagen was not in the best of economic conditions, and claims for damages and penalties have additionally burdened the balance sheets in recent years. Added to this is lost customer trust. In Wolfsburg there was a bewilderment at the end of 2015. And a spirit of optimism: Just a few weeks after the Dieselgate affair became known, a few dozen top managers got down to work and devised a master plan for the Volkswagen brand. “Transform 2025+” is the name of the strategy that started immediately.

Everything is different in Wolfsburg- VW reinvents itself

The first step: VW had to be radically restructured. An SUV offensive was initiated, by 2025 there will be 30 VW Hochbeiner worldwide. The individual regions of the world were given more decision-making power, the series were reorganized and complexity reduced: fewer model derivatives, fewer engine / gearbox variants, fewer components. The goal: to produce cheaper, earn more money! A look at the yield shows that the measures are fruitful: It has risen from 1.8 percent in the pre-diesel scandal era to 5.2 percent in the first half of 2019, six percent by 2022.

Now VW feels fit enough for the second step on the “Transform 2025 +” roadmap. The Wolfsburg start a digitization and electrification offensive! All divisions are being turned around, agile ways of working introduced and processes digitized. In addition, VW wants to be the market leader in e-cars in five years, per year to be sold a million Stromer. The key to success will be the Modular E-Drive Modular System (MEB), a variable platform on which everything from SUVs to sedans and vans can be built. Also the ID.3, which now gives the starting signal in the Golf class.

Everything is different in Wolfsburg- VW reinvents itselfEverything is different in Wolfsburg- VW reinvents itself

The fact that the modular strategy works, VW has already proven in the combustion vehicles with the Modular Querbaukasten (MQB), the high volumes reduce the cost per car massively. Up to 20 models will build on the MEB. In addition, several hundred thousand electric cars from Ford, because the Lower Saxony sell the MEB also to the Americans.

Logo: Simple instead of heavy chrome
Talking about the logo: As a sign of the dawn of a new era, VW is also missing out on a new brand emblem. The chrome-heavy logo, which looks like a superhero signet from the old world, has had its day and is replaced by a filigree, light sign language. The current jerseys of VfL Wolfsburg give a foretaste, for the first time you can see the new logo at the IAA – and on the ID.3, where it is simply white-on-black on the front and rear. The Wolfsburg marketing strategists around Jochen Sengpiehl have not only revamped the badge, but also missed the brand a completely new appearance. A new font, colorful colors, a completely new website and a new voice. In the future you will hear in the commercials,

Completely new brand communication
The step into the future is not without its mark on the approximately 10,000 trading partners in 171 stores. Not only do you have to replace all the logos, they should in the future be part of a completely new customer journey, ie the way VW customers go together with the brand and, ideally, a new car purchase at the end: Seamless integration of all channels, authentic Advertising, digital services, direct contact from the manufacturer to the customer and personal support provided by the local dealer are just some of the keywords that Sales Director Jürgen Stackmann says loudly through Walhalla. From gaps, material quality, safety or steering wheels, where “nothing clatters”, speaks on that day in Wolfsburg against it no one. But nobody wants to shake these core values,