By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. Every time this company seems to be lulling by itself into a monotonous holding pattern of waiting around for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Ready for Godot?) to EVs – with the thoughts-numbing cadence, predictability and years this will entail – blundering controversy usually would seem to be hardly ever much away. This 7 days, it’s all those rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have appear to the entrance of the line, broadcasting their thought balloons out loud a lot to the consternation of everyone, particularly their long-suffering U.S. sellers.
What have individuals preening – “we’re geniuses, just talk to us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. dealers this time? VW dropped the news – entirely out of the blue, of training course – that the business would generate a pickup and off-highway-oriented SUV for the U.S. market place under the Scout name, not VW, commencing in the yr 2026.
There was extremely tiny material to the announcement beyond that, which built VW sellers crazy and hugely suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was truly up to. Was Diess aiming to slash U.S. VW sellers out of the equation and market directly to shoppers? That is a unique probability, as it’s frequently known that Diess is a enormous, unabashed admirer of St. Elon. And the fact that there were in essence no other particulars – as in zero – about the strategy forthcoming really significantly verified those suspicions. No plant aspects, no original advertising approach, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-market place by 2026.”
Do the U.S. VW dealers have very good rationale to be suspicious? Completely. The German-primarily based VW executives have a lengthy historical past of abusing U.S. dealers. The abuses incorporate: 1. Failing to acquire even a modicum of being familiar with of the U.S. industry, enable by yourself treatment. 2. Dim-bulb advertising and strategic choices primarily based on these exact same executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. current market wanted, instead than listening to direct feed-back from the people who basically understood the market place, aka the VW dealers. I could include a number of extra details, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW vehicles certain for the U.S., centered on the essential assumption designed by all those very same German VW executives that they knew what was finest, and moreover, the sellers would make it perform by some means. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to pay attention to their U.S. sellers about the need to have for a greater, aggressive SUV for this market place to the point that it was pretty much much too late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a rewarding lifesaver for the brand below.)
You are damn ideal VW dealers in this article in the U.S. have just about every explanation to be cautious of Herbert Diess and his longing to be viewed as a futurist and an EV visionary when it arrives to cementing VW’s upcoming status in the “Grand Transition.” Diess’ delusional considering is no serious shock, either, thinking about it has been a trademark of every German automobile govt in excess of the very last 40 years, at minimum (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just a person glaring example).
The train of considered for these German vehicle executives goes something like this:
“I am a genius, and it will be much better for all of us if you just acknowledge that simple fact.” (To be honest, this applies to specific infamous U.S. automobile executives as well.)
“My intestine emotions are much superior and a lot more exact than any investigation, in-current market dealer input or other reasoned guidance, primarily from the denizens of our U.S. marketplace outposts.” (Ditto, see earlier mentioned.)
“Anyone who inquiries my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential posture, never ever to be read from once more.”
But then yet again, none of this is stunning to any German brand name supplier listed here in the U.S. It is all the very same chorus irrespective of whether it is Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror tales from these sellers are eerily very similar, and they all revolve about the point that there has hardly ever been a far more depressing great deal of so-named “executives” who have accomplished fewer with additional than your standard German car government. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously mentioned in On line casino: “These guys could fuck-up a cup of coffee.”
I’ll give you a couple of examples. Don’t forget when BMW’s German executives adopted the basic word “Joy” for a world-wide redirect of its promoting? And then they proceeded to test to shove it down the throats of its U.S. sellers? The similar dealers who experienced been residing, breathing and nurturing “The Final Driving Machine” – one of the most legendary automobile promotion themes of all time – for about 30 several years? Sure, BMW executives in Germany in fact tried to get the U.S. dealers to adopt “Joy.” And useless to say, it did not go nicely. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was by no means heard from or seen yet again listed here in the U.S., and “The Greatest Driving Machine” lives on.
And then there is Mercedes-Benz. M-B executives are the acknowledged Kings and Queens of undertaking considerably less with far more. They have botched product launches, experimented with to pawn-off fake Mercedes as true Mercedes, attempted to encourage the American customer that the Smart automobile was actually worthy of looking at, squandered many years of a once-glorious manufacturer heritage by unleashing countless advertising screwups, unloaded much too lots of models in this market by developing niches upon niches that only served to confuse customers, when conveniently disregarding the actuality that their sellers weren’t inquiring for them. I could go on, but you get the thought.
That’s why this most current Diess-led VW initiative has all the signs of yet a further German auto executive directive based on “We know what is finest for you, even however you’re too silly to determine it out for yourselves” variety of a participate in. Except this initiative stinks to significant heaven, and if I were being a VW vendor, I would not permit Diess and his minions get away with it.
And which is the Significant-Octane Fact for this week.
The Scout renderings released by VW past week.
Editor’s Notice: You can entry previous concerns of AE by clicking on “Subsequent 1 Entries” beneath. – WG