30 years after entering the world’s largest and most competitive car market, Volkswagen China was losing its positioning and was increasingly seen as mainstream, sensible and utilitarian, thus lacking innovation. The brand was facing increased competition and falling market share.
In 2011, Volkswagen launched the People’s Car Project, a platform that inspired the Chinese people to contribute their ideas for future car designs. It was developed to restore Volkswagen’s brand image leadership in the minds of Chinese consumers, and make Volkswagen, once again, the most talked about, admired, and innovative car brand in China.
In 2012, Volkswagen celebrated the people’s ideas by turning them into reality.
Wang Jia, a girl from Chengdu, submitted an idea for a hover car on the People’s Car Project website, www.zaoche.cn. Volkswagen’s design team took on the idea and developed it using magnetic levitation technology to her idea and showed off her creation in a series of films.
Volkswagen became the first car manufacturer in China to demonstrate that it listened to consumers. This unique story caught the attention of the local and international press, including the New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and ChinaDaily.
Volkswagen soon became the most talked about automotive brand online and in social media*, and the leader among all car brands online.