Football fans are finalizing their Super Bowl 50 party plans, which will undoubtedly include copious amounts of heart-clogging edibles and liquids that might be confused for beer.
At the same time, Audi is tapping its foot in anticipation. The automaker will air a 60-second Super Bowl spot in an effort to get the attention of those cod-lager-swilling football fans watching the game next weekend. The price of that 60 seconds of airtime: approximately 10 million bucks.
Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi has escaped the diesel emissions PR backlash relatively unscathed — and has also been conspicuously quiet as of late. A little too quiet. That will change during the Super Bowl — and the automaker better have something good to say.
It’s Audi — and not Volkswagen — that’s most exposed by the group’s cheating 3-liter diesel engines, yet you wouldn’t know it if you were reading any automotive websites over the last couple months.
Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn announced a 3-liter TDI Goodwill Package program for Touareg owners, which is a carbon copy of its 2-liter package, during his address to the press at the Detroit auto show. Audi, for its part, hasn’t bothered.
In fact, the last communication of substance from Audi came in November, when the automaker admitted to the cheat (after initially denying it) and pledged a fix. Since then: radio silence, with the odd crackle of static.
Audi will fork out $10 million for that single minute of Super Bowl airtime, plus the price of producing the commercial itself. Customers may balk at that cash being spent on advertising — as they should, considering the lack of compensation those customers have received while others count their gift cards. Thankfully, Volkswagen nor Porsche will be showing ads this year, thus eliminating another reason for rabid TDI fans to complain more than they already have.
Therefore, the entire weight of Volkswagen’s diesel shenanigans rests on Audi’s shoulders — albeit, for a weekend. And if Audi doesn’t have something important to say, its customers certainly will.