By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. Every time this business enterprise seems to be lulling itself into a tedious holding pattern of waiting for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Waiting around for Godot?) to EVs – with the mind-numbing cadence, predictability and many years this will entail – blundering controversy always appears to be never much absent. This week, it is those rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have occur to the front of the line, broadcasting their thought balloons out loud significantly to the consternation of all people, in particular their extensive-suffering U.S. sellers.
What have these preening – “we’re geniuses, just question us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. dealers this time? VW dropped the news – fully out of the blue, of program – that the corporation would make a pickup and off-road-oriented SUV for the U.S. sector under the Scout title, not VW, commencing in the 12 months 2026.
There was incredibly little substance to the announcement past that, which produced VW sellers outrageous and really suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was actually up to. Was Diess aiming to minimize U.S. VW dealers out of the equation and sell right to individuals? That is a distinct probability, as it’s normally regarded that Diess is a huge, unabashed lover of St. Elon. And the truth that there were basically no other details – as in zero – about the strategy forthcoming quite considerably verified people suspicions. No plant particulars, no initial advertising technique, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-sector by 2026.”
Do the U.S. VW sellers have great purpose to be suspicious? Absolutely. The German-centered VW executives have a extensive history of abusing U.S. sellers. The abuses consist of: 1. Failing to acquire even a modicum of being familiar with of the U.S. industry, permit alone care. 2. Dim-bulb internet marketing and strategic selections primarily based on these same executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. market place desired, somewhat than listening to direct feed-back from the folks who in fact knew the industry, aka the VW sellers. I could incorporate several a lot more points, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW motor vehicles sure for the U.S., based mostly on the elementary assumption created by all those same German VW executives that they knew what was finest, and moreover, the dealers would make it do the job somehow. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to hear to their U.S. sellers about the require for a bigger, aggressive SUV for this sector to the point that it was pretty much far too late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a financially rewarding lifesaver for the manufacturer here.)
You are damn appropriate VW dealers listed here in the U.S. have just about every cause to be cautious of Herbert Diess and his longing to be viewed as a futurist and an EV visionary when it comes to cementing VW’s long run standing in the “Grand Changeover.” Diess’ delusional imagining is no true surprise, either, thinking of it has been a trademark of just about every German car govt about the last 40 decades, at minimum (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just a single obtrusive instance).
The prepare of considered for these German vehicle executives goes a thing like this:
“I am a genius, and it will be better for all of us if you just settle for that reality.” (To be reasonable, this applies to selected infamous U.S. automobile executives much too.)
“My intestine inner thoughts are considerably improved and additional precise than any analysis, in-industry seller input or other reasoned assistance, primarily from the denizens of our U.S. market place outposts.” (Ditto, see over.)
“Anyone who questions my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential place, never to be read from once more.”
But then all over again, none of this is stunning to any German brand seller listed here in the U.S. It’s all the similar chorus no matter whether it’s Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror tales from these sellers are eerily comparable, and they all revolve close to the simple fact that there has under no circumstances been a additional miserable great deal of so-named “executives” who have completed much less with much more than your usual German automobile govt. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously stated in On line casino: “These fellas could fuck-up a cup of espresso.”
I’ll give you a pair of illustrations. Bear in mind when BMW’s German executives adopted the very simple word “Joy” for a world wide redirect of its promoting? And then they proceeded to try to shove it down the throats of its U.S. dealers? The same sellers who had been dwelling, breathing and nurturing “The Ultimate Driving Machine” – one of the most iconic automobile advertising and marketing themes of all time – for above 30 a long time? Certainly, BMW executives in Germany actually experimented with to get the U.S. dealers to adopt “Joy.” And unnecessary to say, it did not go perfectly. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was by no means read from or noticed once again here in the U.S., and “The Ultimate Driving Machine” lives on.
And then there’s Mercedes-Benz. M-B executives are the acknowledged Kings and Queens of undertaking much less with extra. They have botched design launches, tried out to pawn-off faux Mercedes as true Mercedes, tried to influence the American consumer that the Smart car or truck was truly well worth taking into consideration, squandered a long time of a at the time-glorious brand name heritage by unleashing innumerable marketing screwups, unloaded too many versions in this industry by building niches upon niches that only served to confuse purchasers, though conveniently disregarding the reality that their sellers weren’t asking for them. I could go on, but you get the thought.
That’s why this most up-to-date Diess-led VW initiative has all the indications of but an additional German vehicle executive directive based on “We know what’s greatest for you, even though you’re far too silly to determine it out for yourselves” kind of a engage in. Except this initiative stinks to significant heaven, and if I have been a VW seller, I wouldn’t allow Diess and his minions get away with it.
And that’s the Large-Octane Real truth for this week.
The Scout renderings introduced by VW past week.
Editor’s Observe: You can accessibility previous troubles of AE by clicking on “Next 1 Entries” down below. – WG