VW has to apologise to Renault over ‘first hatchback’ ad claim

Volkswagen has apologised to Renault after an ad created by VW’s advertising agency, DDB London, falsely claimed that the Golf was the first hatchback.

The £15m advertising campaign for the UK launch of the Golf has made great play of the model’s heritage and its 30th anniversary. As part of the campaign, VW booked the entire advertising space of an issue of motoring weekly Auto Express and a whole ad break on Channel 4 last week to show classic Golf ads (MW February 26).

The introductory ad in Auto Express was the one that upset Renault. It said: “1974 was a milestone in motoring history. The launch of the first-ever hatchback. Our very own Volkswagen Golf.” Renault objected, pointing out that it created the hatchback, with its 1961 Renault 4 and 1965 Renault 16.

A VW spokesman says: “This was a regrettable mix-up by our agency. We have apologised and the ad will not run again.”

In January, Renault threatened to sue Alliance & Leicester after a used car report the bank sponsored claimed the Laguna was the fastest-depreciating car on the market (MW January 29). The parties have not yet been able to reach a settlement. Last year, Renault prevented Fiat from using the Gingo name for its new city car, forcing Fiat to resuscitate the Panda brand (MW July 31).

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