Nisha Qureshi

Why Volkswagen is fueling up ‘Experience’ in its marketing strategy

A look at Volkswagen's new approach, focusing on creating experiences.

Volkswagen, a key player in the Indian automotive market, has undertaken strategic moves to solidify its standing in India. The brand is increasingly focused on expanding its product portfolio and has been focusing on improving consumers’ ‘experiences’ with their cars.

In a conversation with afaqs!, Ashish Gupta, brand director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, speaks about the brand’s new communication strategies and growth.

Gupta expects 2024 to be a great year for the brand. “In 2023, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India sold 43,500 units recording an 8% growth on a Y-o-Y basis. This year too, we have a positive outlook towards growth as the market is projected to grow by 5-7% on a very high base.”

“In line with the growth in the midsize SUV segment (25-28%), we introduced the Taigun GT Line and GT Plus Sport, democratising the most sought-after GT badge that evokes performance and the sheer thrill of driving. The Virtus, our premium midsize sedan is continuously growing with it being the no.1 sedan in March and May 2024.”

The brand has recently renewed its marketing and communication strategies and has been championing ‘experience’ in its advertising for a while now. Last year, it launched the You’re in a Volkswagen campaign. The campaign served the emotional rather than the rational thinking of consumers, a first for the brand. “What you feel about the brand drives intent,” are Gupta’s words about the campaign.

This year, the brand has launched ‘Volkswagen Experiences (VWe)’ - a customer engagement and community-building program under which, the brand will be organising a plethora of activations and experiential events. The initiative is to connect with enthusiasts and customers of the brand, says Gupta.

“It will kick off with a series of expeditions starting with a drive from Chandigarh to Ladakh. All in all, it will create exciting opportunities for participants to experience our brand Volkswagen, through our product portfolio, our range of world-class services, and the carefully curated lifestyle experiences on offer,” he says.

The Ladakh road trip from Chandigarh to Leh starts in June 2024. This trip is accessible to customers nationwide for participation.

“Owning a Volkswagen means so much more than just driving it. Being in a Volkswagen creates moments that turn into memories. That’s something we want to really emphasise,” he adds.

According to Gupta, Volkswagen is aiming to become ‘The most loved brand’ in the category through these initiatives.

Speaking about its marketing strategy, Gupta says, “Our marketing and PR campaigns are centred around creating an aspirational appeal of the brand. Our TV commercials, social media content and reels, and influencer engagement are driven towards generating the aspiration for a German-engineered, safe and premium brand. The content is snackable, relatable, and most importantly brings the twinkle in the eye emotion that a Volkswagen is known for.”

Gupta adds that the requirement of the passenger car consumer has evolved over the years. He says the passenger car segment audience is looking for affiliations, exclusive access, interactions with like-minded people and joining a community that introduces them to new people.

“Which enables a brand like Volkswagen to create a platform matching these requirements.”

Media strategy

As per Gupta, Volkswagen has a 360-degree outlook while implementing our communication campaigns. It covers all media channels right from print, broadcast/TV, OOH, social media, digital, etc.

“The media strategy is usually a 70:30 split, with a 70% focus on offline awareness mediums like print, broadcast and OOH. Followed by digital and content integration,” he says.

Electrification strategy

He further adds that Volkswagen's electrification strategy for India involves a phased approach, starting with Fully Built Units (FBUs) and Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits, leading to mass electrification through local production.

“The ID.4 will be the first electric vehicle introduced in the Indian market, marking a significant step towards Volkswagen’s commitment to sustainable mobility,” he says.

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