VW-Sponsored Olympic Torch Run Begins

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
vw sponsored olympic torch run begins

In one of life's little ironies, Volkswagen is this year's "Official Vehicle" of Adolf Hitler's forgotten brainchild, the Olympic Torch Relay. With riots on the streets in Lhasa and reports of terrorism threats in China already marring the feel-good "One World, One Dream" vibes, the torch run was supposed to be a major PR effort for the Chinese government and major sponsors. But things are not quite going to plan. The Guardian reports that pro-Tibet protesters broke a "tight security cordon" at Thursday's torch lighting ceremony, and are now planning multiple protests along the relay route. The convoy has already been held up several times due to protesters lying in front of the Vee-Dubs, and the Greek government is upping security in response to specific threats over the weekend. And the caravan of love hasn't even come close to the Nepal area yet where soldiers are already deploying to deal with protests. Maybe someone just needs to let everyone know that it's all good, man… these are green Volkswagens.

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  • Montgomery burns Montgomery burns on Mar 31, 2008

    Roger said it for me, thanks. I'll just add that the Chinese will do anything and I mean anything to sell product. Lying, cheating and stealing are normal business tactics. Add that to a government willing to do whatever it takes to suppress dissent aided and abetted by US businesses and you have what is todays China. And to get back on track somewhat, US car companies are going to find out the hard way that doing business with China (as it is today) is a losing proposition in the long run.

  • Roger Hislop Roger Hislop on Mar 31, 2008

    Well, I wouldn't say "lying cheating and stealing" is a particularly Chinese quality (American orgs like Monsanto, oil companies, CIA, etc come to mind), but governance and accountability is pretty haphazard there ... officials get away with (almost literally) murder one day, and then get sentenced to death the next (generally when their actions embarrass the government enough http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/29/china.jonathanwatts) And yes, getting back on-topic... I'm suspecting VW is very much regretting getting involved in the torch-carrying circus... their urge to suck up to the chinese govt and build their brand in China vs the horrible PR disaster they have on their hands now that Tibet has exploded. Just like everyone loves puppies and seals, everyone loves a Tibetan. And those robes are so photogenic. Add to that the stories doing the rounds about athletes refusing to train in Beijing because of the air pollution, and the marketing folks at VW must be wishing they never got involved. Better to stick to bone-headed TV ads in the US. Sign THEN Drive. WTF (as they say). Protest orgs have realised that one of the few things that the Chinese govt is terrified of is bad publicity and losing face. And they're exploiting it to the max. Good luck VW and other sponsors.

  • Von Von on Mar 31, 2008

    Rodger: Point 1: not anymore, that is the China 20 years ago, visit any city in China, economically, they are capitalistic. Point 2: Of course the US subsidizes, that's what I'm trying to point out and arguing that we should not subsidize and let free market forces run their course. Point 3: I think you missed the irony there... Point 4: the US is a protected market, but the difference to EU is degree. Also, in the EU, employees are much harder to fire, another protectionist regulation. Americans will never stop buying made in China goods at Walmart or elsewhere if it somewhat does what it's supposed to and is significantly cheaper than the alternative. My point is that we need to either 1, differentiate the products enough or 2, close the price gap or both. Not cry foul and run to Uncle Sam (if there is in fact no foul, which I agree is not always the case) Von

  • Von Von on Mar 31, 2008

    Oh and it's appropriate that you link to a British news agency. They are the biggest cry babies and love to point out what's wrong with the rest of the world...the one that they used to rule over and the one that is out doing them every day. The former colonies like US, Australia already ate their lunch, now former nobodies like Russia, China, and even Africa are threatening to take their breakfast, too. Meanwhile their car companies, once proud symbols of engineering prowess and national pride, are being either shut down or are bouncing between owners like an interesting but ultimately useless trinket on eBay. Sour grapes must be their national dish. And I hope we NEVER become like them. Von