By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. Every time this company seems to be lulling itself into a tiresome keeping pattern of waiting around for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Ready for Godot?) to EVs – with the brain-numbing cadence, predictability and several years this will entail – blundering controversy normally seems to be by no means far absent. This 7 days, it’s individuals rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have appear to the entrance of the line, broadcasting their considered balloons out loud a great deal to the consternation of anyone, particularly their very long-struggling U.S. sellers.
What have people preening – “we’re geniuses, just check with us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. dealers this time? VW dropped the news – completely out of the blue, of training course – that the enterprise would develop a pickup and off-street-oriented SUV for the U.S. market place less than the Scout name, not VW, starting in the 12 months 2026.
There was quite minor compound to the announcement beyond that, which made VW sellers outrageous and extremely suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was actually up to. Was Diess aiming to slash U.S. VW dealers out of the equation and market right to customers? That is a distinct likelihood, as it’s typically known that Diess is a large, unabashed admirer of St. Elon. And the point that there ended up essentially no other information – as in zero – about the strategy forthcoming fairly much verified those suspicions. No plant details, no original marketing and advertising system, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-sector by 2026.”
Do the U.S. VW dealers have fantastic reason to be suspicious? Unquestionably. The German-centered VW executives have a extensive background of abusing U.S. dealers. The abuses include: 1. Failing to acquire even a modicum of knowing of the U.S. market place, let by yourself care. 2. Dim-bulb advertising and strategic choices based mostly on these exact same executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. industry essential, instead than listening to immediate comments from the folks who actually knew the sector, aka the VW sellers. I could insert a number of much more points, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW cars bound for the U.S., based mostly on the essential assumption made by these very same German VW executives that they understood what was ideal, and apart from, the dealers would make it work in some way. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to pay attention to their U.S. sellers about the need to have for a larger, aggressive SUV for this marketplace to the position that it was almost as well late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a worthwhile lifesaver for the brand name in this article.)
You are damn ideal VW dealers here in the U.S. have every motive to be wary of Herbert Diess and his longing to be deemed a futurist and an EV visionary when it comes to cementing VW’s future standing in the “Grand Transition.” Diess’ delusional considering is no real shock, both, taking into consideration it has been a trademark of each German vehicle executive over the very last 40 many years, at least (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just a single obvious illustration).
The coach of thought for these German automobile executives goes a thing like this:
“I am a genius, and it will be far better for all of us if you just acknowledge that simple fact.” (To be reasonable, this applies to sure infamous U.S. car executives way too.)
“My gut emotions are significantly far better and much more correct than any investigation, in-market place supplier enter or other reasoned tips, in particular from the denizens of our U.S. current market outposts.” (Ditto, see earlier mentioned.)
“Anyone who issues my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential place, by no means to be read from again.”
But then once more, none of this is shocking to any German brand supplier listed here in the U.S. It is all the exact same refrain whether or not it’s Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror tales from these sellers are eerily comparable, and they all revolve all over the simple fact that there has by no means been a a lot more depressing ton of so-known as “executives” who have performed considerably less with additional than your regular German auto govt. 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. Keep in mind when BMW’s German executives adopted the straightforward word “Joy” for a international redirect of its promotion? And then they proceeded to try out to shove it down the throats of its U.S. dealers? The identical sellers who experienced been dwelling, breathing and nurturing “The Greatest Driving Machine” – just one of the most iconic auto advertising and marketing themes of all time – for around 30 decades? Yes, BMW executives in Germany truly experimented with to get the U.S. dealers to undertake “Joy.” And useless to say, it did not go perfectly. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was never ever listened to from or seen once again in this article in the U.S., and “The Greatest Driving Machine” life on.
And then there is Mercedes-Benz. M-B executives are the acknowledged Kings and Queens of carrying out significantly less with much more. They have botched product launches, experimented with to pawn-off faux Mercedes as genuine Mercedes, tried to convince the American buyer that the Good car or truck was essentially really worth contemplating, squandered a long time of a as soon as-superb model background by unleashing countless marketing and advertising screwups, unloaded way too many models in this marketplace by producing niches upon niches that only served to confuse buyers, whilst conveniently disregarding the fact that their dealers weren’t asking for them. I could go on, but you get the strategy.
That is why this latest Diess-led VW initiative has all the symptoms of nevertheless yet another German vehicle govt directive primarily based on “We know what’s most effective for you, even although you are far too stupid to determine it out for yourselves” type of a enjoy. Except this initiative stinks to significant heaven, and if I had been a VW vendor, I wouldn’t permit Diess and his minions get absent with it.
And which is the High-Octane Reality for this week.
The Scout renderings launched by VW previous 7 days.
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