Extract from "Oracle - Germany", CAR Magazine, August 1978.
IN THE SEARCH FOR A NEW NAME and image for their dealer network, Volkswagen/Audi have just passed a £40m two year plan. The aim is not only to find a better slogan for dealers than the clumsy Your Volkswagen and Audi Partner, but also to update and standardise showrooms and service facilities. Or, in the words of a 40 page colour brochure issued to convince 8000 European appointed dealers: ‘The two makes have to be offered under a single, easily perceptible trademark'. All good stuff so far.
The name intended to cover all these changes and integrate the upmarket Audi and downmarket Audi is: VAG. Looks pretty hopeless at a glance, but the official translation for this Very Awkward Gag is VolkswagenwerkAG. And that has nothing to do with Audi that l can see. I don’t know how the VW dealer in Sicily will like the big blue VAG signs he will soon receive, but the reception in the Vaterland was less than enthusiastic. Dealers and big distributors as well as privately-owned import firms will dislike VAG even more once they learn that they are supposed to pay two-thirds of the £40m the campaign is to cost. On the other hand, all VW/Audi dealers will reflect uniformity and thoroughness by 1980: VAG mechanics in stylish medium-blue overalls will flock to VAG outlets painted in the same colour and even the bills will soon feature blue VAG initials. Into the bargain come restyled VW and Audi emblems. Volkswagen went back to grassroots for their blue and white VW circle, but Audi get an all-new sign in a brownish oval, not unlike the Fordplum. To me so far it looks like too much money for too little effect. Remember how many times BLMC tried before they arrived at plain old BL Cars?