Volkswagen kills 'Das Auto' slogan in response to diesel scandal

2016 Volkswagen Passat
The Volkswagen diesel scandal has seen its share of casualties, as everyone from the VW Group’s CEO to its design and R&D chiefs has stepped down. But the latest casualty isn’t an executive, it’s a slogan.

Volkswagen will drop the “Das Auto” tagline used since 2007, as it works to rebuild its image, reports Reuters. The slogan simply means “The Car,” but executives apparently feel changing things up will help improve VW’s image in the eyes of the public, and its disgruntled customers.

Executives reportedly view “Das Auto” as out of step with current attempts to show humility in the wake of VW’s admission that it installed software in diesel cars that allowed the vehicles to cheat on emissions tests. In place of the slogan, future advertising will simply use the Volkswagen name and logo.

At a closed-door meeting discussing the Volkswagen brand’s image problems, VW brand chief Herbert Diess reportedly criticized the slogan, which was launched under ousted VW boss Martin Winterkorn. He called it “pretentious” and suggested that Volkswagen draft a new slogan that better conveys its future plans for areas such as electric cars. In the months since the scandal, VW has said it will pay more attention to electric cars going forward, including launching an electric version of its Phaeton luxury sedan.

Over the past few weeks, Volkswagen has undertaken some post-scandal damage control, at least in terms of public relations. It released the findings of an internal investigation which concluded that a handful of engineers created the “defeat device” software without the knowledge of management, and vowed to restructure itself in order to improve accountability. It also hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg to oversee payments to owners of affected diesel cars.

But an actual recall of those cars is still nowhere in sight. The California Air Resources Board said last week that it will extend a deadline for reviewing a potential fix submitted by VW last month. Both the California agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must approve the plan before Volkswagen proceeds. Recalls on some cars in Europe, where emissions standards are less strict, are expected to begin in January.

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