Naming the prestige Passat for China
The B6, Volkswagen's newest development in the Passat line, was
intended to be launched as a prestigious flagship model in China.
Like other Western car companies on the mainland, VW was
manufacturing its models through local partners. The previous
model, Passat B5 GP, was manufactured and marketed exclusively by
local VW partner SAIC. The
new B6 model would be brought to market by FAW-Volkswagen, another
partner, while SAIC would
continue manufacturing the B5 GP. The two VW partners would then be
manufacturing competing Passats. In order to avoid confusion and
trademark conflicts in China, Volkswagen decided to develop a new
name for its eagerly awaited prestige model.
Volkswagen retained Landor to create a Passat name for exclusive
use in mainland China that would substantially differentiate the
new model from the Passat B5 GP. Because both were positioned as
high-class, show-off cars, it was important to win over the target
group of affluent male buyers by appealing to their performance-
and status-driven values. The name also needed to allow a phonetic
transliteration into Chinese with an emphasis on the syllabletengto
create an association with VW's other premium models, Hui Teng
(Phaeton) and Su Teng (Sagitar).
The Hamburg and Asia Pacific offices of Landor worked together
to develop the name Magotan, alluding to the Latin word
magnus and the kingly color magenta. The syllable tan suggests
dominance and weight. Its phonetic and semantic Mandarin
transliteration, May Teng, brings to mind a tall horse
galloping fast-especially relevant as horses are an important
symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture. The name, which was
tested and validated in focus groups, appealed to the self-image
and the aspirations of the car owner. The VW Magotan, lauded as
China's most anticipated car in 2007, became one of the country's
top sellers, recapturing momentum for Volkswagen in the region.