VW calls on Marx Layne for its US PR

AUBURN HILLS, MI: Volkswagen of America (VOA), the US and Canadian

sales arm of VW of Germany, has named Marx Layne as its PR agency of

record for corporate and product PR.

The award culminates a search that began last November and,

significantly, only Detroit-area agencies were invited to pitch for the


VOA and Marx Layne would not comment on the account's expected revenue,

though it's rumored in Detroit PR circles to be worth $1


"We wanted someone physically close," Steve Keyes, VOA's PR director

told PRWeek, "and with a sense of the auto industry." VOA had used

national agencies in the past for specific projects, but found that none

had a feel for the car culture.

The Marx Layne deal is a new account, not replacing another agency. The

firm will work on strategic communications counseling, media relations,

crisis and issues management, press events, and auto shows.

Marx Layne has added about five people to bring its staff to about


The firm will supplement VOA's in-house staff of eight. Marx Layne

partner Don Tanner will head the VW side of the new account, while Mike

Szudarek will handle Audi. "We'll be a seamless arm of their in-house

marketing team," said Michael Layne, one of the 15-year-old agency's

three partners.

VOA holds about 5% of the US car market.

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