Volkswagen hopes to join the troop of four-wheeled film stars with the announcement of a global marketing partnership with American entertainment group NBC Universal.

Volkswagen hopes to join the troop of four-wheeled film stars with the announcement of a global marketing partnership with American entertainment group NBC Universal.

With the deal, spanning several years, Volkswagen will enjoy product placement in Universal’s new film,, while the brand will also be highlighted at the company’s theme parks worldwide. In response, the German car manufacturer will support various Universal products through international marketing and promotional efforts. Joint marketing campaigns are planned, though the main thrust will be directed towards the US and Europe.

"This will represent one of the largest and most comprehensive alliances in the entertainment industry and prepares the ground for new ways of reaching consumers on a global scale," said Volkswagen chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder.

"Product placement and the movie industry are a growing factor in car promotion, and Universal Studios is the most consistently successful movie studio in recent history. With their theme parks and their huge television section, NBC Universal offers a highly attractive platform to promote our products and brand, which no other studio can offer."

Perhaps the Beetle Ragster, one of the stars of a different kind of show, the Detroit Motor Show, could also have a chance to try its hand at acting soon. The handsome creation, with its folding fabric roof, was shown at Detroit in full racing livery with bucket seats and a sports steering wheel with integrated stop/start button and roof control.

New bumpers, fenders and lights all round with 19-inch aluminium wheels contribute to make the diminutive car as striking as ever.

Audi and Mini have both capitalised on having their products featured in Hollywood blockbusters, with generous results for the manufacturers. Audi’s RSQ starred alongside Will Smith in the futuristic and Mini’s Cooper S was the tiny star of the hit heist movie , where it starred alongside Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg.

However, this is the first signing of a long-term deal between a motor manufacturer and an entertainment group.