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NEW YORK: Carl Hahn, who led Volkswagen AG’s international expansion in the 1980s after directing the rise of the Volkswagen Beetle in the United States in the 1960s, has died. He was 96.

Hahn died in his sleep on Saturday at his home in Wolfsburg, Germany, according to a spokeswoman from his charitable foundation. A ceremony is planned for Jan 24.

As head of New York-based Volkswagen of America Inc from 1959 to 1964, Hahn took a hands-on approach to selling cars.

He toured the United States in a VW bus, using his charisma and excellent English to turn Americans onto “the Volkswagen way,” Andrea Hiott wrote in “Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle” (2012).

He computerised Volkswagen’s offices and standardised service to increase efficiency.

Most important, he brought Volkswagen to Madison Avenue, choosing Doyle Dane Bernbach – which became DDB Worldwide, part of Omnicom Group Inc – to design what Advertising Age magazine called the top campaign of the 20th century.

As conceived by art director Helmut Krone and copywriter Julian Koenig, the plan included the unconventional print ads “Think Small,” celebrating the compact size of the Beetle, and Lemon, focusing on quality control.

At a time when US automakers were running “stupid advertising” focusing on the ever-changing looks of their cars, VW and DDB presented “our philosophy of a car that doesn’t change for the reason of change, only for the benefit of the consumer,” Hahn said in a 2011 talk at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Hahn’s marketing skills helped the Beetle become the best-selling single car model in history, with more than 21.5 million produced between 1945 and 2003.

Though commissioned and envisioned by Adolf Hitler, the Beetle was embraced by America, where it inspired artists, transported hippies and starred as Herbie in the Disney movie franchise that began with “The Love Bug” (1968).

Hahn returned to VW headquarters in Wolfsburg following his election to Volkswagen’s governing board in 1964 and led the sales department. — Bloomberg


转载说明:本文转载自Sunbet。 鄂尔多斯新闻网声明:该文看法仅代表作者自己,与本平台无关。转载请注明:VW CEO who introduces Beetle in US dies at 96
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