By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. Every time this business appears to be lulling alone into a tiresome keeping sample of waiting for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Waiting for Godot?) to EVs – with the head-numbing cadence, predictability and a long time this will entail – blundering controversy always appears to be to be under no circumstances far absent. This 7 days, it’s individuals rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have occur to the front of the line, broadcasting their thought balloons out loud substantially to the consternation of absolutely everyone, especially their long-suffering U.S. sellers.

What have people preening – “we’re geniuses, just question us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. sellers this time? VW dropped the news – completely out of the blue, of study course – that the business would create a pickup and off-highway-oriented SUV for the U.S. current market below the Scout name, not VW, beginning in the year 2026. 

There was incredibly little material to the announcement over and above that, which created VW dealers mad and hugely suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was actually up to. Was Diess aiming to reduce U.S. VW sellers out of the equation and promote right to shoppers? That is a distinct chance, as it’s commonly recognized that Diess is a substantial, unabashed admirer of St. Elon. And the truth that there were being fundamentally no other aspects – as in zero – about the approach forthcoming quite a lot confirmed those people suspicions. No plant specifics, no initial marketing system, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-market place by 2026.”

Do the U.S. VW sellers have fantastic reason to be suspicious? Totally. The German-based VW executives have a long heritage of abusing U.S. dealers. The abuses include things like: 1. Failing to receive even a modicum of knowing of the U.S. industry, permit alone care. 2. Dim-bulb marketing and strategic conclusions based on these very same executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. marketplace necessary, relatively than listening to immediate feedback from the people today who actually realized the current market, aka the VW sellers. I could include many far more details, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW motor vehicles sure for the U.S., based mostly on the fundamental assumption produced by those similar German VW executives that they understood what was best, and in addition to, the dealers would make it get the job done in some way. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to hear to their U.S. sellers about the want for a much larger, competitive SUV for this sector to the place that it was practically too late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a successful lifesaver for the brand right here.) 

You are damn proper VW sellers below in the U.S. have just about every rationale to be wary of Herbert Diess and his longing to be considered a futurist and an EV visionary when it comes to cementing VW’s foreseeable future position in the “Grand Changeover.” Diess’ delusional pondering is no genuine surprise, both, considering it has been a trademark of each individual German car government about the final 40 many years, at least (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just a person obvious example). 

The coach of considered for these German car executives goes a little something like this: 

“I am a genius, and it will be superior for all of us if you just acknowledge that reality.” (To be honest, this applies to sure notorious U.S. auto executives also.)

“My gut feelings are significantly much better and more accurate than any exploration, in-market vendor input or other reasoned suggestions, specially from the denizens of our U.S. market outposts.” (Ditto, see over.)

“Anyone who inquiries my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential posture, under no circumstances to be read from all over again.” 

But then again, none of this is stunning to any German model seller right here in the U.S. It is all the very same chorus no matter if it is Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror tales from these sellers are eerily identical, and they all revolve all around the fact that there has by no means been a more miserable ton of so-identified as “executives” who have done fewer with far more than your usual German automobile executive. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously said in On line casino“These guys could fuck-up a cup of espresso.”

I’ll give you a pair of examples. Don’t forget when BMW’s German executives adopted the simple word “Joy” for a world-wide redirect of its advertising? And then they proceeded to consider to shove it down the throats of its U.S. dealers? The identical dealers who had been living, breathing and nurturing “The Final Driving Machine” – one particular of the most legendary car advertising themes of all time – for over 30 a long time? Sure, BMW executives in Germany basically attempted to get the U.S. dealers to adopt “Joy.” And pointless to say, it did not go very well. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was under no circumstances heard from or noticed once more listed here in the U.S., and “The Best Driving Machine” life on.

And then there’s Mercedes-Benz. M-B executives are the acknowledged Kings and Queens of undertaking less with additional. They have botched model launches, tried out to pawn-off fake Mercedes as serious Mercedes, experimented with to convince the American customer that the Good vehicle was in fact value thinking about, squandered decades of a as soon as-glorious manufacturer record by unleashing innumerable marketing screwups, unloaded much too lots of styles in this market by developing niches upon niches that only served to confuse potential buyers, although conveniently ignoring the point that their sellers weren’t inquiring for them. I could go on, but you get the idea.

That is why this newest Diess-led VW initiative has all the signs of yet one more German auto executive directive dependent on “We know what’s finest for you, even however you’re as well silly to determine it out for yourselves” sort of a play. Except this initiative stinks to high heaven, and if I were a VW supplier, I wouldn’t allow Diess and his minions get absent with it. 

And which is the Superior-Octane Reality for this week.


The Scout renderings produced by VW very last week.


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