Volkswagen which means “people’s car” in German and Its current international slogan “Das Auto” (“The Car”) is currently in deep brand crises. Not only does the Volkswagen’s 11 car brands, including Porsche , Audi , and Skoda are under scanner but also threatens the “Made in Germany” brand.
Cars and the “Made in Germany”, the two things are the part of the Germany’s national character. So consumers and public at large are shocked to discover that Volkswagen has been rigging environmental tests for diesel emissions in the US. The growing emissions scandal at Volkswagen is starting to harm the automaker’s brand image on social media and beyond.
The Volkswagen consumer perception “buzz” score in the U.S. has reached its lowest point from 10 to 11 range to -2 and is further sliding. The biggest hit for Volkswagen is in Germany, where the buzz score plummeted to -8 from its normal 18 to 22 range. This all is due to Volkswagen manipulating pollution data to boost sales by installing software on nearly 500,000 diesel cars that made them appear to run cleaner in testing than they do in real-world conditions.
This is seen as a slap in the face to customers who paid a premium for what they thought was a greener car. The Volkswagen brand faces an uphill task in wooing back consumer trust, which is in negative according to conversations occurring on social media. The negative tweets jumped from 766 to 16,707 during this period, which is pointing towards a major social media backlash. “Emission” is the keyword in most of the social media conversations. Though Audi car brand has not been much impacted by this but the cars with the company brand “Volkswagen” are the worst hit. This is an opportunity for Volkswagen to be transparent with consumers and leverage paid, earned and owned media to counter the company’s Doppelganger brand imagery circulated in the popular media.
Cars contribute a lot to the German economy and “Made in Germany” is a quality trusted brand worth paying a premium. If the Volkswagen Doppelganger imagery becomes one of manipulation and deceit, then it’s only a matter of time before the impact is felt on the German economy.