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May 2, 2019 2:00 PM, EDT

VW Creates Buzz Before EV Launch

vw Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News

Volkswagen AG is seeking to create buzz months before deliveries start for its first ID. electric car, following the footsteps of Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk, whose promotion of the Model 3 generated reservation lines around the block.

While the world’s biggest carmaker lacks the marketing acumen of Tesla’s CEO— who mainly markets through his Twitter feed — VW has scale and will spend tens of millions of euros on a campaign advertising the start of prebookings this month, according to a statement May 2. The ID. hatchback is priced similar to a Golf diesel. VW says it’ll be less than 30,000 euros won’t enter showrooms until next year.

The campaign will introduce a website called the ID. Hub that will offer advice on electric car ownership. In 2016, when Tesla opened preorders for the Model 3, reservations quickly rose to top a quarter-million, later leading to production bottlenecks. The arrival of Volkswagen’s lower-priced electric car also signals the growing competition Tesla is set to face after starting deliveries of the Model 3 last year.

“Our campaign kicks off a great deal earlier than normal and won’t just cover the product,” VW brand marketing head Jochen Sengpiehl said May 2 in the statement. “Volkswagen is making electric vehicles available to the masses.”

VW will take over more than half of advertising space in Berlin, with the main part of the campaign debuting May 25, the day of the DFB soccer cup final. FC Bayern Munich AG, where Volkswagen brand Audi is a stakeholder, is playing RB Leipzig.

“For the fundamental transformation of Volkswagen towards e-mobility that we are currently accomplishing, we need an entirely new marketing approach,” Sengpiehl said.