Like Coca-Cola, Volkswagen AG wants its brand to become synonymous with the product.
VW has introduced its tag line, "Das Auto," with a TV and print advertising campaign in Germany. The automaker says it will use "The Auto" slogan worldwide. The tag line reflects VW's claim to have brought car ownership to the masses in many countries.
"We are the car," VW spokesman Andreas Meurer says. "We want to be another word for the product group. We were not the first to develop a car or to mass-produce them, but we think we are the company that has democratized individual mobility.
"You don't ask for brown lemonade — you ask for Coke. We think we can claim the same."
VW's previous tag line was "Aus Liebe zum Automobil." The English translation: "For the love of the automobile."
The new slogan works in many of the world's major languages, including Chinese, Meurer says. In some national markets, VW drops or translates the tag line's definite article, he adds.
" 'Auto' works around the world," Meurer says. "So the question is whether it will be just 'Auto' or whether we say 'The Auto.' "