VW: Struggling in the Chinese Market



Recent allegations against VW of how their diesel vehicles were not meeting emissions guidelines are affecting the company throughout the world. However, one area that most people believed they would be safe was in China. China is one of the leading countries in which VW brings their vehicles to in order to sell. Chinese consumers find VW to be a dependable, fuel efficient brand that also offers a stylish option to drive. However, a recent recall in China is putting the auto maker behind their competition in China.

The VW Recall

The most recent recall is being placed on 5,906 luxury brand Bentley sedans manufactured by VW. They have battery defects that are leading to overheating. Another recall last year involve 600,000 VW vehicles, and involved many Chinese consumers standing outside VW dealerships protesting the fix that VW was offering for their vehicles. In 2013, there were 384,000 vehicles recalled with defective gearboxes. It has been a hard year for VW, needless to say.

In fact, due to all of these recalls and the media attention that they are getting for these recalls, there has been a decrease of 19% in their public image compared to a y ear ago. They are also seeing sales fall around 8.5%, even though more Chinese consumers are purchasing cars these days.

Read more about the auto market in China here

Media Breaks VW

The Chinese media, both print and social media, are doing their best to ensure that everyone knows about the issues that VW is having. In fact, they are quick to point out that VW makes the list of some of the worse cars that Chinese consumers can purchase. Many of the “Top 10 Worst Cars” and “Top Lemon Cars” include VW branded vehicles, giving the number one spot to the VW Sagitar.

So what can VW do to correct the damage to their reputation? The problem that VW is having is that they are not stick to what their brand was like a few years ago. They worked to develop a brand image that was effective and also communicated reliability and technology to those who heard the name. With the recalls and ratings they are getting, VW has managed to destroy their brand within a few years as far as Chinese consumers are concerned.

Learn more about social media and how companies are using this to stay connected with consumers here

The only option the brand now has is to start winning back consumers with better emission test results, more reliable cars, and the like. It will take time to re-establish their brand image, however, your brand is your reputation in China. Chinese consumers take brands serious and with the current reputation that VW has, Chinese consumers are simply not interested in what they have to offer.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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