Volkswagen Wants to Make its Subsidiaries More Distinct
Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT’s brand identities will now be easier to distinguish.
Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda–– all of these European auto marques form the uber-popular Volkswagen Auto Group, the largest global auto manufacturer (sales-wise) as of 2016. Although it has an arsenal of great brands at its disposal, VAG's portfolio is anything but diverse. Why buy a SEAT Ibiza when a Golf will do the trick? Since the US doesn't get SEAT and Skoda this might be a bad comparison, but there's so much overlap between VAG's subsidiaries that it's time for a change.
Reuters reports that Volkswagen is aware of this brand saturation and is looking at ways to give each of its subsidiaries a unique identity. VW CEO Matthias Mueller explained that the issue will be to establish distinct boundaries and paths for each marque while maintaining synergy between the brands.
“Of course, it is an extreme challenge sometimes to steer this tanker and to balance the (different) interests,” Mueller stated.
Volkswagen will start by distinguishing itself from SEAT and Skoda first, then move on to the premium brands like Audi and Porsche if the pilot program is successful. The company also hopes that these changes will make each company more efficient and possibly cut production costs and workload.
Mueller won't say what each brand identity will entail yet, but sources told Reuters that VAG recently tried to move some Skoda production back to Germany and charge Skoda more for some of its technology. This, of course, prompted an outcry from the Czech auto industry and harsh words from the Czech Prime Minister.
Although Volkswagen's CEO is being vague about his strategy, expect to hear more about Volkswagen Auto Group's changes in the coming months. New models may help change the direction of each brand, so we suggest studying new cars from every VAG manufacturer and figuring out how each new vehicle fits into that brand's lineup (if at all).