JASON STEIN

VW paints Beijing media blue

Jason Stein is editor of Automotive NewsJason Stein is editor of Automotive News
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BEIJING -- If there was any doubt about which car company wanted to make the first -- and perhaps biggest environmental -- splash in China, no need to look beyond the hotel room door in Beijing Sunday morning.

A day before the Beijing auto show opens for press previews, the Volkswagen brand launched a pre-show assault in the local media. All in the color blue.

VW used a glossy, four-page display to literally wrap its message of environmental sensitivity around the China Daily English-language newspaper at hotel rooms around the Chinese capital.

The words, in light blue -- "Think Blue with Volkswagen. A better tomorrow starts today." -- were positioned above a picture of the world and images of the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, a vehicle and a traditional Chinese tower.

VW pitches environmentalism in local media Sunday ahead of the Beijing auto show.

Photo credit: JASON STEIN

Underneath, VW explained its view of the future:

"Protecting the environment is a simple act that everyone can participate in. At Volkswagen, we believe that it's our responsibility to create mobility for the future that is sustainable and eco-friendly. Together, we make our future as colorful as nature intended. We call this philosophy Think Blue."

Volkswagen's tagline "Think Blue" is part of the automaker's Blue Motion efficient emissions branding. The opposite side of the glossy wrap had six images -- a car, a flower in a vase, a tree, a gas pump, a picture of a globe and a battery.

But the VW Group wasn't done.

Audi also took over the front of the China Daily's Page 1 with an image of the front headlamp of a new vehicle with a hint for auto show attendees -- "The future, how can it be further progressed?" -- and a promise to see the answer Monday.

Volkswagen Group will go all-out this week to demonstrate to the Chinese market that its goal of global domination includes a big gain in China through FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co.

(VW boosted deliveries in China 16 percent to more than 633,000 vehicles in the first quarter, compared with an overall industry decline.)

Judging by the way VW is papering the city, the automaker wants to make sure no one will miss the message.

You can reach Jason Stein at jstein@crain.com. -- Follow Jason on Twitter

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