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VW wants to sell you new cars by advertising old ones

Commentary: A new Volkswagen ad says look at this 1960s Microbus and that old, old Beetle. Now buy, um, a Tiguan.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


vwbus

The good old loving days.

VW/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Have you seen exciting new Volkswagens on the road recently?

Neither have I.

Perhaps that's why the company's latest ad features no new Volkswagens at all. Nor even Volkswagens from this century.

Instead, here's 60 seconds of '60s nostalgia. Back then, the Microbus was the favored transport of pot-addled hippies. The Beetle was the favored transport of, oh, just about everyone who didn't have a Microbus.

Here, we hear Joe Cocker's sublime rendition of "With a Little Help From my Friends," as we see '60s hippies being more than just good friends. They actually help each other. 

The ad claims that "VW drivers have always put others first."

Please forgive me, a couple of VW drivers in my neighborhood put others in danger.

Still, VW is trying to incite those feelings of yore to get you more positively disposed to, say, a Tiguan. Or, if you're optimistic about living a long and loving life, perhaps the sight of the Microbus is a teaser for the new buslike I.D. Buzz. Available in 2022.

The hook is the company's six-year, 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper so-called People First warranty. 

Which, some might say, is at least a gesture after the company's celebrated diesel emissions scandal, in which VW tried to get around US Environmental Protection Agency regulations and got caught.

Things have improved for the brand this year. Sales are up 9 percent for the year to date.

Who, though, is going to be moved by seeing a bunch of soiled hippies being lovey-dovey? 

After all, the '60s were a very long time ago. Do, say, millennials care about that era? On my travels I've not heard many of them humming Buffalo Springfield melodies.

Perhaps, though, given the fractious, nasty tone of our times, anything that smacks of human love and warmth will be positively received. 

Love each other and you'll love Volkswagen. Even if its cars look spectacularly nondescript.

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