Imagine turning 65, looking back and realizing that you peaked in your mid-teens and that you spent much of the last 50 years trying to once again taste the popularity of your youth.
The so-far failed chase by this boomer has been both exhausting and expensive — including a stretch a decade ago spent with a pretty expensive substance abuse problem. But Volkswagen of America is clean now and ready to give it another go, if historically low oil prices and a global pandemic don't muck up its chances to get back to the 5 percent market share it had in the U.S. half a century ago.
And while the push to grow in the U.S. will ultimately be product-driven, top Volkswagen leaders insist it will be powered not just by electrons and carbon molecules, but by something they know from experience is far more difficult to develop and easier to burn through: trust.
"The absolute bedrock of that 5 points of share and the bedrock of those 570,000 units [in 1970] was, first and foremost, you need to be a well-liked and a well-trusted brand," Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen of America, told Automotive News late last month.