NEW YORK -- Volkswagen figures Hispanics migrating to the U.S. likely are familiar with the brand when they arrive.
So it's expanding its outreach to include Spanish-language TV and digital outlets to reach this growing segment of consumers, said Vinay Shahani, Volkswagen of America's senior vice president of marketing.
"If you consider countries from which Hispanics in the U.S. have immigrated from, Volkswagen typically has a double-digit market share in those countries," Shahani said during a panel discussion at the Automotive News New York Marketing Seminar last week. "We tend to be on the list for a lot of these important consumers."
According to IHS, Toyota, Honda and Nissan have the largest market shares among Hispanics in the U.S.
Shahani also touched on his marketing team's efforts to overcome the diesel-emissions scandal, saying there's no sense of despair.
"Things are definitely difficult for the VW brand," he acknowledged. "There's one thing my entire team is focused on, which is keep the business moving. That's really the glue that held my team together. We had a lot of work to do to move products that were already for sale."
Before the scandal erupted in September 2015, diesel vehicles accounted for about 20 percent of the VW brand's U.S. sales. But by October, VW had halted sales of all its diesel vehicles. In June, the company reached a nearly $15 billion settlement with state and federal regulators and customers to resolve claims involving its 2.0-liter diesel cars.
The settlement, if approved by a federal court, would close one chapter in the scandal, but VW's brand remains damaged.
Edmunds.com data show that the residual value of VW products has taken a hit: A 3-year-old VW model in 2016 would fetch $15,054, on average, according to Edmunds -- an $848 drop from 2015. By contrast, VW's residual value rose $99 to $15,902 between 2014 and 2015.
It has been a tough situation, but Shahani says his team forging ahead.
"Starting this month, and moving throughout 2017, we've got three big launches on our hands," Shahani said, referring to the Golf Alltrack wagon and a pair of crossovers due next year. "It's about being focused on what needs to happen to drive consumer demand to build the brand in the face of a big challenge."