It's not often that a humble Tier 2 supplier creates a big marketing and advertising opportunity for an automaker. But that may be the case with Volkswagen and the famed Fender guitar company.
VW will use a Panasonic audio system with a "Fender sound" on the upcoming Jetta GLI, Beetle and Passat successors. Panasonic has a partnership with Fender, makers of the guitar burned on stage by Jimi Hendrix, scorched by Eric Clapton and pimped out by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The Fender brand will be stamped on VW's audio systems. And VW expects to plug into Fender's marketing database: millions of music lovers who play, collect or covet Fender guitars, says Mark Van Vleet, a Fender vice president.
Van Vleet won't discuss ad plans, but points out that legendary Fender players span all tastes, age groups and regions -- from New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen to California surf music maestro Dick Dale to West Coast funkmaster Larry Graham and Nashville cat Brad Paisley.
"People in different regions associate various iconic performers with the Fender brand," Van Vleet says. "That gives VW an opportunity to capture that recognition and tie it back to its own product."