By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. Every time this business enterprise seems to be lulling itself into a tedious keeping pattern of ready for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Waiting for Godot?) to EVs – with the thoughts-numbing cadence, predictability and a long time this will entail – blundering controversy constantly appears to be hardly ever significantly away. This 7 days, it’s those people rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have come to the entrance of the line, broadcasting their assumed balloons out loud considerably to the consternation of absolutely everyone, particularly their lengthy-struggling U.S. sellers.
What have all those preening – “we’re geniuses, just talk to us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. sellers this time? VW dropped the information – completely out of the blue, of system – that the corporation would produce a pickup and off-road-oriented SUV for the U.S. sector underneath the Scout identify, not VW, beginning in the yr 2026.
There was incredibly tiny compound to the announcement outside of that, which built VW dealers outrageous and highly suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was really up to. Was Diess aiming to slice U.S. VW sellers out of the equation and market instantly to shoppers? That is a distinctive risk, as it is typically known that Diess is a massive, unabashed admirer of St. Elon. And the reality that there had been in essence no other information – as in zero – about the program forthcoming quite significantly verified all those suspicions. No plant details, no initial promoting approach, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-market by 2026.”
Do the U.S. VW dealers have fantastic cause to be suspicious? Totally. The German-centered VW executives have a long historical past of abusing U.S. sellers. The abuses incorporate: 1. Failing to obtain even a modicum of comprehending of the U.S. sector, enable by itself treatment. 2. Dim-bulb marketing and strategic conclusions based on these similar executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. marketplace wanted, rather than listening to direct feed-back from the persons who really realized the current market, aka the VW dealers. I could increase several more details, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW motor vehicles bound for the U.S., centered on the fundamental assumption made by those similar German VW executives that they realized what was finest, and aside from, the dealers would make it perform in some way. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to listen to their U.S. sellers about the require for a bigger, aggressive SUV for this market to the position that it was virtually too late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a worthwhile lifesaver for the brand name here.)
You are damn appropriate VW dealers in this article in the U.S. have each and every reason to be wary of Herbert Diess and his longing to be regarded as a futurist and an EV visionary when it arrives to cementing VW’s potential status in the “Grand Transition.” Diess’ delusional contemplating is no true shock, either, thinking of it has been a trademark of just about every German auto govt above the very last 40 years, at the very least (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just one glaring example).
The prepare of believed for these German car executives goes a thing like this:
“I am a genius, and it will be far better for all of us if you just settle for that reality.” (To be reasonable, this applies to specific notorious U.S. automobile executives way too.)
“My intestine inner thoughts are much greater and a lot more correct than any analysis, in-current market dealer input or other reasoned guidance, specifically from the denizens of our U.S. industry outposts.” (Ditto, see previously mentioned.)
“Anyone who questions my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential situation, under no circumstances to be read from again.”
But then yet again, none of this is stunning to any German brand name dealer here in the U.S. It is all the identical refrain irrespective of whether it is Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror tales from these dealers are eerily equivalent, and they all revolve all over the actuality that there has in no way been a far more miserable ton of so-identified as “executives” who have accomplished less with far more than your normal German auto govt. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously stated in Casino: “These fellas could fuck-up a cup of espresso.”
I’ll give you a couple of illustrations. Recall when BMW’s German executives adopted the uncomplicated phrase “Joy” for a international redirect of its marketing? And then they proceeded to try to shove it down the throats of its U.S. dealers? The exact sellers who had been dwelling, breathing and nurturing “The Top Driving Machine” – a single of the most legendary auto promotion themes of all time – for over 30 years? Certainly, BMW executives in Germany basically tried out to get the U.S. dealers to adopt “Joy.” And needless to say, it did not go perfectly. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was under no circumstances heard from or witnessed once more listed here in the U.S., and “The Best Driving Machine” lives on.
And then there’s Mercedes-Benz. M-B executives are the acknowledged Kings and Queens of performing considerably less with additional. They have botched model launches, attempted to pawn-off fake Mercedes as actual Mercedes, tried out to encourage the American shopper that the Good car or truck was actually worth taking into consideration, squandered many years of a when-superb brand name historical past by unleashing countless advertising screwups, unloaded too many versions in this sector by building niches upon niches that only served to confuse potential buyers, though conveniently disregarding the reality that their dealers weren’t asking for them. I could go on, but you get the thought.
That’s why this most recent Diess-led VW initiative has all the signals of nevertheless a further German automobile executive directive centered on “We know what’s very best for you, even however you’re also silly to determine it out for yourselves” form of a engage in. Except this initiative stinks to higher heaven, and if I had been a VW seller, I would not enable Diess and his minions get absent with it.
And that’s the High-Octane Real truth for this 7 days.
The Scout renderings launched by VW previous 7 days.
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