Key Takeaways

  • Volkswagen has a history of making stirring and controversial slogans
  • The average Volkswagen slogan like “Think Small” makes the driver think of a specific car
  • “Das Auto” literally means “The Car” in German and makes users think of loyalty to a brand.
  • “Drivers Wanted” attempted to convey their vehicles as quality and performance vehicles.

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Automotive slogans are well known in and outside of the auto industry. Which slogans is Volkswagen known for within the auto industry?

Some of Volkswagen's most memorable slogans include "Think Small," "Drivers Wanted," and most recently "Das Auto," which translates from German to "The Car." This slogan was dropped in 2016. Volkswagen also employed “Clean Diesel” though its engines were rigged for tests.

Our team of experts has researched and compiled information on Volkswagen's slogans to provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant information. We have consulted various sources to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and trustworthy.

Table of Contents

Volkswagen Slogan History

Throughout the years, Volkswagen has been known for its clever and memorable advertising slogans. These slogans have helped to create a strong brand identity and have contributed to the success of the company. Here are some of the most successful slogans that Volkswagen has used:

Relieves Gas Pains

The statement that a car can “Relieve Gas Pains” will certainly make you stop reading through a magazine as you associate gas pains with something else entirely. This Volkswagen slogan was referring to having a fleet of vehicles that earned better gas mileage in a time when gas prices were rather high. This slogan ran in the 1970s when TV commercials and print ads were far more common, and hit a nerve with people who were overpaying at the pump with hefty engines.

Think Small

One of the most memorable slogans used by Volkswagen was "Think Small." This slogan was introduced in 1959 and was meant to promote the Volkswagen Beetle, which was smaller than most American cars at the time. The slogan was developed by the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, and it was a departure from the typical car ads of the time, which emphasized size and power. The "Think Small" campaign was a huge success, and it helped to establish Volkswagen as a brand that was different from its competitors.

The slogan “Think Small” isn’t especially well known now, only because it was over 60 years ago. Still, many American drivers who have been on the road for years instantly recognize the Beetle as an icon regardless of the year.

For boys who were always men

This Volkswagen slogan was rather specific to the sporty Volkswagen GTI, which had a better suspension for high speed turns in addition to a more powerful engine. The purpose of this slogan was to convey that the GTI was completely designed for adults who missed the thrill of the fast cars they dreamed as of kids, and not to compromise their dreams of owning a fast vehicle.

Drivers Wanted

This slogan was developed by Arnold Worldwide in 1995. The slogan was created to appeal to a younger demographic and to promote the Volkswagen Golf. The "Drivers Wanted" campaign was a huge success, and it helped to increase sales of Volkswagen cars in the United States by using the perception that driving a vehicle like a Volkswagen Golf was fun and exciting. This series of ads used the Volkswagen slogan over imagery of younger people driving briskly in exotic locations - which conveyed a thrill rather than an attempt to brand economically.

Das Auto

This Volkswagen slogan was developed by the advertising agency Grabarz & Partner in 2007. The slogan was created to promote Volkswagen as a brand that was innovative and forward-thinking. The slogan was successful in establishing Volkswagen as a brand that was focused on technology and design.

These slogans were successful because they were able to convey the essence of the Volkswagen brand in a memorable and engaging way. They were also able to connect with consumers on an emotional level, which helped to create brand loyalty and drive sales. It is clear that these slogans have helped to establish Volkswagen as a brand that is reliable, practical, and innovative. By using these slogans, Volkswagen has been able to create a strong brand identity that resonates with consumers.

Some critics also say that using German words that say “The Car” is too bold and lacks humility, especially in the wake of issues related to the company's image following our next slogan.

A sullied Volkswagen Slogan

Another controversial slogan used by Volkswagen was "Clean Diesel." This slogan was used to promote Volkswagen's diesel engine technology, which was marketed as being environmentally friendly. However, in 2015, it was discovered that Volkswagen had installed software in its diesel cars that allowed them to cheat emissions tests. The scandal led to a massive recall of Volkswagen cars and damaged the brand's reputation. The "Clean Diesel" slogan was quickly dropped, and Volkswagen has since shifted its focus to electric cars.

The idea of “Clean Diesel” crashing as a Volkswagen slogan hurts more because Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold well and were well known for their torquey nature - and were overall fun to drive. Unfortunately, they didn’t come with the eco-friendly features that the Volkwagen slogan mentioned and ended up costing the company big.

Current slogans

Volkswagen currently uses the slogan “Drive Bigger.” The concept of “Drive Bigger”: as a Volkswagen slogan references Volkswagen’s desire to look at the longer term and the bigger picture. This method includes advertising for its up and coming electric fleets, which Volkswagen Group sees as a method of helping the environment while building performance and well engineered vehicles.

Volkswagen sees the upcoming generation of car buyers as aware as ever about the total impact of the vehicles they drive  - and with brands like Tesla and many others doing a solid job of promoting and selling battery powered vehicles, the big picture is here.

Volkswagen’s image

As a German manufacturer, Volkswagen has been forever trying to position itself as a well engineered car with extra care taken for building a somewhat economical, but performance vehicle. Their actual vehicles have varied over time including the Beetle, which is rather small and not powerful. The range of vehicles though has been more than a bit exciting with cars like the Volkswagen GTI. The company has also continued to distance itself from their party with German labour and Adolf Hitler - though the company's origins go back to the Third Reich.

In conclusion, Volkswagen has a long history of using catchy slogans to market its cars. While some of these slogans have been controversial, they have helped to establish Volkswagen as a brand that is different from its competitors. Whether Volkswagen's current slogan will be as successful as its previous slogans remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Volkswagen will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of automotive technology.

Memorable Volkswagen Slogans

About The Author

Matt Meurer

Matt Meurer

Matt is a VW Master Technician since 2009 after proceeding through the ranks as a Team Leader and Shop Foreman. He has developed software to increase car dealership efficiency, managed 10+ techs, and instructed students at multiple high-performance driving events since 2011. He is also the lead mechanic, engineer, and driver for Blue Goose Racing.

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