DETROIT – As ad agencies gear up to pitch Audi of America’s $30 million account, one question they might start preparing to answer is this: Should Audi try, onc" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

Audi Still Endeavors To Clear Its Name By David Kile

DETROIT – As ad agencies gear up to pitch Audi of America’s $30 million account, one question they might start preparing to answer is this: Should Audi try, onc

The primary reason for Audi’s sales slide since 1985 stems from a twice-aired 60 Minutes report. The broadcast spotlighted Audi owners who charged that the 5000 sedan was prone to suddenly accelerating out of control. Though Audi was subsequently cleared by all government investigations and won all the court cases that sought to lay blame at Audi’s door, the carmaker never quite buffed its tarnished image.
In the wake of General Motors’ wildly successful defense of its position relative to its pickup trucks against NBC’s Dateline show, Audi dealers would like to hear what agencies have to say on the matter. In the past, its VW parent executives have simply tried to avoid the subject. But with new executives in place, said Audi dealer council chairman Joe Clair, maybe there will be new thinking on the subject.
‘It (the program) may have aired seven or so years ago, but the problem is still with us today,’ said Clair, who also is a GM dealer. He said at least two dealers would be on the review committee.
Has too much time elapsed for VW to mount a credible attack? ‘Not at all,’ said automotive marketing consultant Thomas O’Grady, president of Integrated Automotive Resources, Newark, Del. ‘As long as people come into dealerships asking about it, the problem is current.’
As of last Friday, Audi had not yet named a consultant on the review. But sources said Neal Gilliatt has been mentioned inside Audi. Gilliatt, who handled the Jaguar Cars and Sterling Motor Cars reviews, had no comment.
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