Volkswagen considers dropping sponsorship of four German football clubs, says report

Volkswagen is reportedly considering dropping its sponsorship of four prominent German football teams following cutbacks to its investment plan after the emissions crisis.

Rubin Okotie of 1860 Munich, which has sponsorship from VW's Think Blue brand (Pic: Tobias Hase / DPA/Press Association Images)
Rubin Okotie of 1860 Munich, which has sponsorship from VW's Think Blue brand (Pic: Tobias Hase / DPA/Press Association Images)

According to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Bundesliga clubs Hannover 96, Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 could see an end to their sponsorship, alongside second division club 1860 Munich. The car giant reportedly spends about €1.5m (£1.05m) per season on its sponsorship of each club.

On Friday, Volkswagen announced that it would be cutting its investment budget from €13bn (£9bn) to €12bn (£8bn) per year in the aftermath of the emissions crisis.

"We will strictly prioritise all planned investments and expenditures. As announced, anything that is not absolutely necessary will be cancelled or postponed," company CEO Matthias Müller said in a statement on Friday.

The cutbacks will see, for example, a delay in VW’s planned new design centre in Wolfsburg and in the launch of a new electric car. However, sport sponsorship is not mentioned among the areas to be affected.

Volkswagen has been engulfed in crisis for more than two months, since the US Environmental Protection Agency accused it of cheating diesel emissions tests, which has in turn led to the recall of millions of cars globally, the replacement of its chief executive and top comms executive, and a large financial loss in Q3.

PRWeek has asked VW for a comment on the football sponsorship reports but received no reply at the time of publication.

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