September 18, 2005

VW's Real World: Malibu

vw_jetta_06.jpgThis is the true story of 33 foreigners [Germans, mostly], picked to live in a house and have their lives taped, and find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting REAL. The Real World!

Well, one thing that happens is your company loses $1.29 billion in a year in the North American market, and your previously fanatically loyal customers get outraged when their cars fall apart all the time, and dealers dick them around incessantly over warranty repairs.

In this special corporate edition of TRW, the team has been given a challenge, finding out what the US market wants from a car. And more specifically, from a German car whose initials are VW, "especially finding out what customer groups VW must target and what vehicle concept 'suits the North American market so that we can maximize our market effect.'" [What groups? young families, hello? Where's that microbus you killed last year, and the mini-SUV you're strangling in its crib?]

In a sign that Wolfsburg's well on their way to understanding the US market's they named the team...Moonraker, after the cheese cheese cheesiest Bond movie ever. (Well, except for that one with Christopher Walken and that screaming chick from Charlie's Angels.)

Moonraker group to help VW determine what U.S. customers want
[autoweek, via the Jetta hataz at the NYT]

3 Comments

This was reported all the way back in February on VWvortex...

If you a VW fan like me, you'll want to also read the 5 pages of comments generated by the article, along with the rest of the site.

VW's been losing sales in the US because they made the insane decision to move upmarket and ignore the sales potential of the lower-end segment. The ill-advised introduction of the Phaeton and Touareg are what has brought about the fall of VW sales.

Bring us the Polo, bring us the TSI twin-charged 1.4L, 170 PS, 40 mpg in the city engine, bring us a *real* utility vehicle (instead of that bloated, overpriced, over-luxurious, trouble-prone Touareg), and keep the power gewgaws and navigation systems.

In short, bring us back Volkswagen, the "People's Car". And for Dog's sake, fix your dealership network customer service problems and quality control problems.

[I couldn't figure out why the Autoweek story broke now, since the Moonraker team was being reported on way back then, and in April at MIT, etc., too. Frankly, it seems like a damning of VWUSA that Germany doesn't know what's going on here? They're sending 33 marketing people over on a tour who'll become great assets back in Germany? It makes the whole company seem alarmingly out of touch. -ed.]

I hate the new Jetta. It looks like every other Japanese car out there. It's lost its Deutschheit.

I HATE THE NEW JETTA OK SO WHAT IF IT HANDLES BETTER RUNS BETTER. BUT COME ON THEY COULD HAVE PICKED A BETTER IDEA FOR THE BODY IT LOOKS LIKE A UGLY EGG I LOVED THE LAST BODY STYLE VERSON IT WAS STYLISH AND FUN. THIS LOOKS LIKE AN EGG WITH A CROME HELMIT ON. ITS SAD THAT THE JETTA LOOKS LIKE THIS I WISH THEY GO BACK TO THE OTHER BODY STYLE IT LOOKED SO ADORABLE AND ALL THE GIRLS LOVED IT. IT REMINDED THEM OF A CUTE PUPPY.

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