Grabarz and VW Team Up in Germany

Following a lengthy review, Volkswagen has selected Grabarz & Partners, a 65-person agency in Hamburg, to handle advertising for the upcoming German launch of the auto maker’s Passat W8 and D1 luxury vehicles.

Agency CEO Andreas Grabarz confirmed the assignment Friday morning. “We’re a small creative agency. That a company such as Volkswagen decided to go for a small agency, it is a surprise.” Grabarz has not previously worked for VW. Advertising is expected to break before year’s end as the cars begin rolling out, though Grabarz declined further comment.

A spokesman at VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, said no information was immediately available.

Grabarz made final pitches at VW’s headquarters earlier this week.

DDB, Berlin, Leagas Delaney, Hamburg, Weber Hodel Schmid, Zurich and Grey, Dusseldorf had been among the initial contenders.

Ad spending on the cars, designed to compete with Mercedes-Benz and BMW models, will initially be in the $20 million range for the remainder of 2001 but is expected to increase to $50 million or more in short order, sources said.

It is unclear if elements of the winning shop’s German work will also be used to promote the cars in the U.S., where Arnold handles the auto maker’s $300 million business.