Volkswagen AG is unwrapping not just new models at the Frankfurt auto show, but a tweaked logo as the world’s biggest carmaker ushers in the electric era.
Little-changed since World War II, the new VW emblem was uncovered atop its headquarters in Wolfsburg on Monday. And in Frankfurt, the manufacturer showed the VW brand’s battery-powered ID.3, the first model in an unprecedented $33 billion push to make electric vehicles for the masses.
The twin steps — both heavy with symbolism — reflect the high stakes involved in Volkswagen’s ambitions to become the world’s electric-car leader just four years after the diesel-cheating scandal plunged it into the worst crisis in its history. The carmaker aims for the ID.3 hatchback to become a trendsetter and take on similar status as its iconic Beetle.
“This evening is a decisive moment for us,” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess said from the podium. The ID.3 is meant to “take the electric car from being a niche product to the mainstream, making it accessible for everyone.”
VW is pulling out all the stops as it seeks to reshape its image. In Frankfurt, the gathered crowd was treated to vegan sliders with green buns and herbal concoctions garnished with thyme.
Diess called for the end of coal-generated electricity, among other planet-saving measures. “How can we save the world for our children?” read a query emblazoned on an entryway wall.
If things work out as planned, the ID.3’s technical underpinnings, dubbed MEB, will emerge as a new industrial standard for battery-powered cars, giving Volkswagen economies of scale that rivals would struggle to match.