VW in agency talks for launch of new vehicles

Europe's largest car maker Volkswagen is understood to have held

meetings with a number of agencies as it looks to secure consumer PR

support for vehicle launches next year.

Industry sources indicated this week that the brief is likely to centre

on the launch of a luxury car line, code-named Project D1, in 2002.

The vehicles will be publicly unveiled for the first time at the Geneva

Motor Show in spring next year, with the cars going on sale in the UK

towards the end of the year.

At least three agencies are understood to have held discussions with VW,

but due to confidentiality clauses, all refused to discuss the matter

with PRWeek.

A spokesperson for the car manufacturer's comms team refused to confirm

details of the pitch, adding: 'You cannot expect us to comment on

anything we may or may not be doing'.

However, sources within the industry indicate that pitches will take

place in the next month.

It is understood there will be two different vehicle types in the range,

which are targeted at the prestigious large vehicle market.

While no details about the account have been released, it is likely to

be worth a sizeable six-figure sum and run for an initial one-year

period from January next year.

News of the pitch follows last week's announcement that the Volkswagen

Group is to shake up its brands into two distinct groups.

The plan will see 'sporty' marques - Audi, Seat and Lamborghini - form

one group, while another 'classic' group will comprise the VW, Skoda,

Bentley and Bugatti brands.

The company estimates that the process will cost £19.3bn, and will

commence next year to conclude by 2006.

The move is aimed at eliminating model overlap between brands within the

VW Group.

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