Volkswagen ducks World Cup, bats for IPL

Sravanthi Challapalli Chennai | Updated on February 10, 2011

Mr Lutz Kothe, Head of Marketing and PR, Volkswagen.

Volkswagen's sponsorship activities would be “totally different from what the competitors do"

It may be World Cup fever that's stalking the nation but at Volkswagen India, the excitement is about IPL, scheduled to start April 8.

Volkswagen, the exclusive sponsor in the automobile category, will launch a “special action model” at the start of the T20 tournament, said Mr Lutz Kothe, Head of Marketing and PR, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt Ltd. Asked whether an existing model would be tweaked for the tournament, he said, “It won't be tweaked, it will be specially constructed.”

Mr Kothe told Business Line that Volkswagen's sponsorship activities would be “totally different from what our competitors do, put a cricket bat on the car” and that “good volumes” of the special car would be available for customers to buy. The campaign would be integrated with VW's dealers too. He declined to reveal more details about the car – the number of units to be produced, price and delivery time – but did say that production would depend on the response and that the first batch of cars would be sold off the shelf. He also said it would be very easy for the company to cater to further orders.

As the IPL is a very, very big platform, other models too would be promoted, Mr Kothe said. There would be car exhibitions, promotions and branding within the stadium. Shuttle services for the umpires, VIPs and IPL board members would run on VW cars. According to Mr Kothe, the interest in the IPL is higher than in the World Cup - the bonding with the teams is deeper because “they're one of us”. Elaborating, he said the IPL is an Indian enterprise and that Indian cricketers were in all the teams, which is different from a national team.

On the impact of the ‘talking newspaper' ad for Vento in September 2010, Mr Kothe said it had brought them a lot of brand awareness. Brand awareness at the end of 2009 in India was just eight per cent but within a year, it had climbed to 39 per cent, he said.

Published on February 10, 2011

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