Chattanooga VW dealer: Wish we had new Passats

A Chattanooga Volkswagen dealer says the highly rated Super Bowl ad for the all-new Passat is a good start to the car's launch and he wishes he already had vehicles to sell.

"With this kind of press, it would be helpful to have cars on the ground to sell," said Dale Smith, general manager of Village Volkswagen in Chattanooga.

Jack Haney, a longtime salesman at Al Johnson Volkswagen in Dalton, Ga., said he's hopeful the ad and future ones will translate into car sales "when we get them."

"Everybody will want to look at it, I hope," he said.

The ad, dubbed "The Imperial March," was ranked among the best during Sunday's Super Bowl.

A group of 40 graduate marketing students at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management gave Volkswagen the top two spots, with its Beetle ad edging out the Star Wars offering.

Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at the school, said the Passat ad was "incredibly endearing."

"It got people's attention and said something about the product," he said. "It really resonated with people."

Now, Calkins said, it's up to VW to follow up with more specifics about the new midsize sedan on which production is to start next month at the German automaker's Chattanooga factory.

Smith said he understands that VW plans to have a few of the cars to each of its dealers by April so prospective buyers can drive the vehicle and order it.

"We've had a lot of interest from the time of the Detroit auto show," he said. VW officially rolled out the car and its name at the show about a month ago.

Haney said he's hopeful VW continues to come up with effective ads for the new Passat such as the "baby Vader" commercial.

TOP SUPER BOWL ADVERTISERS* Volkswagen* Chrysler* DoritosBOTTOM RANKED ADVERTISERS* Lipton Brisk* HomeAway* HyundaiSource: Kellogg School Super Bowl Review

"I think VW has come a long way," he said.

VW's goal is rapidly to triple sales of the brand to 800,000 units in the United States by 2018. It also aims to increase Audi sales sharply, with the two brands hitting the 1 million mark.

Calkins said the Super Bowl is the perfect place to introduce a new product.

"You get enormous reach," he said. "It's a great opportunity to get in front of people and let people know there is a new Passat."

It's the seventh year the Kellogg School has done its Super Bowl rankings, Calkins said.

The base Passat will sell for about $20,000, according to VW. VW officials said the cars are to be shipped to dealers for sale in June or July.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.

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