Any colour you like as long as it's quick

10 May 2006

An interesting example for students of spin. This story today notes that Volkswagen is “reducing the number of vehicle engine, trim and specification combinations and hence simplifying choice for customers”.

Simplifying choice? Up to a point... It is probably worth casting your mind back a few weeks to the revelation that it takes 54 man-hours to assemble a VW Golf – roughly twice the industry norm for a car in its class. Fewer options will mean less complexity on the production line, which VW evidently hopes will be one way to speed things up.

But this back-to-basics approach comes at a time when customers are becoming quite used to having a wide range of options. As BMW has proven with its ultra-successful Mini, customers like choice – even if it means the option to display their lack of good taste. And buyers are prepared to pay quite a bit over the odds to have a vehicle that they feel expresses their sense of individuality.

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