Volkswagen hasn't really changed their logo much at all since 1967 (as you can see in the chart below), but the question is whether or not it's time for a change. VW recently announced that they're working on a logo change to adapt to an electrified future. We're not exactly sure what it will look like, but there's no question that it's daring move to make, and it's likely partially in response to shedding more of its "Dieselgate" reputation. We're not so sure it's the best idea, and here's why.
Rebranding is Hard to Do Well
Even just a logo change can come back to bite you. Just ask the GAP. The public gets attached to brands and the way they look. A rebrand is also a whopping task that involves marketing, web presence, mission, design, etc. The GAP tried to do it back in 2010 in order to be more relevant and youthful, but it totally backfired, and everyone made their voices heard. They had to change it back after the painful lesson. If a company the size of VW (the Volkswagen Group sold an astounding 10.7 million vehicles in 2017), there had better be a good reason to do it.
Change Has to Be Evolutionary
You can't just shock people with brand change. History has proven that it needs to be evolutionary so loyalists don't feel abandoned or lost. Just take a look at the last four logos from VW below. They're such an established brand that doing anything radical would be tantamount to brand suicide. So, the logo was changed slowly over time and only slightly modified, at that.
Volkswagen's brand recognition factor is high, and likely even higher on the global stage. It's true that VW is still trying to rid themselves of their Dieselgate reputation and a new logo is part of that. Their electric concepts that have been at the forefront of the car industry lately show the world where they want to go. Could it be time to make the brand also look different? It's a risky move that has to be done delicately.
The Logo is Still the Face of VW
VW want's to be different from who they were and from everyone else in the automotive market, and they're well-poised to do that with some great new product offerings and what looks to be a primarily electrified model lineup in a decade. Also, Matthias Müller is out as CEO and has been replaced by Herbert Diess, formerly of BMW. Diess has supports Volkswagen's diametric shift towards electrification, and he called the change "evolution rather than a revolution," which should indicate that the logo change also won't be drastic. We only hope that the logo still keeps the same essential V set on top of the W, surrounded by a circle. It's just possible that they will add some color to the logo.
The automaker's chief marketing officer, Jochen Sengpieh, stated in a recent press briefing that the new logo would be unveiled in 2019 to coincide with the release of electrified models. The logo would be uniform on car fascias, as well as on electronic media equally well.“The big challenge is: How do we get people into the electric world?” said Sengpiehl, “We want people to have fun with us, we need to get more colorful.” That should show you where VW is headed with the logo change. The question as to whether the change will be right for the brand remains to be seen.