VW has new $699 lease on Phaeton model–advertises on Olympics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Unveiling an aggressive marketing effort this week on NBC’s Olympic broadcast, Volkswagen is determined to increase Americans’ awareness of its highly acclaimed new luxury car called the Phaeton—the first Volkswagen sedan in this rarified car segment.

 This new marketing push begins in a big way with a significant advertising presence for the Phaeton model during NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic Games.

The large Olympic ad buy is one part of the automaker’s efforts. Over the next several months, Volkswagen plans to place national newspaper ads, using some of the more dramatic accolades being written on the car, as well as direct mail.

The print ads will also announce Volkswagen’s aggressive new lease offer that makes it possible to lease an abundantly equipped, all-wheel-drive Phaeton V8 for $699 a month for 36 months*. And to lure more showroom interest in the car, Volkswagen is giving prospective customers a 48-hour test drive in the new Phaeton.

Before it arrived in the U.S. in January, the Phaeton, Volkswagen’s first-ever ultra-luxury sedan, prompted a chorus of nay sayers who predicted it would fail to deliver the prestigious qualities of the entrenched luxury competition; yet, the 2004 Phaeton has quickly gained critical acclaim from auto critics, dealers, and customers.

To spread the word on these automotive credentials, the German automaker is redoubling its marketing push to make sure people know that the Volkswagen brand—renowned for smaller cars—can extend its unique character all the way up the automotive ladder.

 This new Phaeton advertising offensive starts in a big way this week, as the German automaker is airing a full slate of advertising during NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Volkswagen will premiere two new 30-second spots, one of which features the Phaeton.  The 30-second spots will run 91 times beginning August 14 on NBC and its affiliated cable networks – Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, USA and Telemundo, during 91 slots , with half touting the Phaeton.

“The Phaeton has surprised a lot of automotive experts, and even some of our dealers, who were understandably skeptical. But the car is a remarkable automotive achievement and critics have almost universally recognized this,” said Len Hunt, vice president in charge of the Volkswagen brand.  “Now we need to make sure a larger number of Americans know that there is a fresh, distinct and new full-size luxury car in the mix, and yes, it is a Volkswagen. Of course, being a Volkswagen, it drives great and offers unmatched value in its segment.”

Hunt goes on to say that despite the Phaeton’s small sales volume projections of 2,000 units the first year, the Summer Olympic Games coverage is a good opportunity to create a wider awareness of the car to a very engaged audience.

“The Olympics afford us the opportunity to reach out to an active and engaged audience through some of the most highly-rated programming on television,” he said

The new TV spots will also feature the Touareg, Volkswagen’s first sport utility vehicle that has received high acclaim since it debuted last summer, including being named Motor Trend’s 2004 Sport/Utility of the Year. It combines the features of a high-quality off-road vehicle with the comfort of a luxury saloon and dynamics of a sports car in a new vehicle philosophy.

Like most of Volkswagen’s TV advertising, the spots that will air during the Summer Olympic Games focus on the unique experience, attitude and feeling you get from Germany’s number-one car brand. The Phaeton “Warp Speed” commercial captures a special moment between a father and his son sharing the experience of riding in a Phaeton.  The Touareg spot, “Picture,” shows a driver using his Touareg to help another person — a moment that defines the kind of people who drive Volkswagen cars.