By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. Every time this company appears to be lulling itself into a wearisome holding pattern of waiting around for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Waiting around for Godot?) to EVs – with the head-numbing cadence, predictability and yrs this will entail – blundering controversy constantly appears to be in no way far absent. This week, it is all those rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have come to the entrance of the line, broadcasting their considered balloons out loud a lot to the consternation of every person, particularly their very long-suffering U.S. dealers.
What have all those preening – “we’re geniuses, just question us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. sellers this time? VW dropped the news – entirely out of the blue, of class – that the corporation would generate a pickup and off-street-oriented SUV for the U.S. sector less than the Scout identify, not VW, beginning in the yr 2026.
There was extremely minimal material to the announcement further than that, which manufactured VW sellers nuts and very suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was really up to. Was Diess aiming to reduce U.S. VW dealers out of the equation and sell immediately to buyers? That is a unique likelihood, as it is normally acknowledged that Diess is a enormous, unabashed fan of St. Elon. And the actuality that there have been basically no other details – as in zero – about the approach forthcoming rather significantly confirmed individuals suspicions. No plant information, no first marketing strategy, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-market place by 2026.”
Do the U.S. VW dealers have very good motive to be suspicious? Unquestionably. The German-based mostly VW executives have a long history of abusing U.S. dealers. The abuses include things like: 1. Failing to acquire even a modicum of being familiar with of the U.S. industry, let by yourself treatment. 2. Dim-bulb marketing and strategic decisions dependent on these identical executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. market required, relatively than listening to immediate feed-back from the individuals who essentially knew the marketplace, aka the VW sellers. I could increase quite a few a lot more factors, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW vehicles bound for the U.S., centered on the fundamental assumption made by people identical German VW executives that they realized what was ideal, and apart from, the dealers would make it work someway. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to hear to their U.S. sellers about the require for a much larger, aggressive SUV for this market to the point that it was just about as well late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a profitable lifesaver for the manufacturer right here.)
You’re damn proper VW dealers here in the U.S. have each rationale to be wary of Herbert Diess and his longing to be regarded as a futurist and an EV visionary when it will come to cementing VW’s potential standing in the “Grand Changeover.” Diess’ delusional imagining is no serious surprise, either, considering it has been a trademark of each individual German vehicle govt above the last 40 decades, at minimum (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just one evident instance).
The prepare of imagined for these German car executives goes something like this:
“I am a genius, and it will be far better for all of us if you just accept that truth.” (To be truthful, this applies to sure notorious U.S. car executives also.)
“My gut feelings are much superior and additional accurate than any investigate, in-sector supplier input or other reasoned suggestions, especially from the denizens of our U.S. current market outposts.” (Ditto, see earlier mentioned.)
“Anyone who queries my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential placement, hardly ever to be read from yet again.”
But then yet again, none of this is surprising to any German brand seller below in the U.S. It is all the very same chorus whether it’s Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror stories from these sellers are eerily equivalent, and they all revolve close to the point that there has hardly ever been a more depressing whole lot of so-named “executives” who have completed fewer with far more than your usual German auto govt. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously claimed in On line casino: “These fellas could fuck-up a cup of espresso.”
I’ll give you a pair of illustrations. Don’t forget when BMW’s German executives adopted the simple term “Joy” for a world wide redirect of its advertising and marketing? And then they proceeded to consider to shove it down the throats of its U.S. sellers? The identical dealers who experienced been residing, breathing and nurturing “The Final Driving Machine” – one of the most legendary automobile marketing themes of all time – for about 30 years? Certainly, BMW executives in Germany truly tried out to get the U.S. dealers to adopt “Joy.” And pointless to say, it did not go well. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was hardly ever listened to from or noticed all over again listed here 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 doing less with a lot more. They have botched model launches, experimented with to pawn-off faux Mercedes as serious Mercedes, attempted to persuade the American consumer that the Intelligent vehicle was essentially really worth thinking of, squandered many years of a once-superb brand name heritage by unleashing innumerable promoting screwups, unloaded way too a lot of versions in this industry by producing niches on niches that only served to confuse consumers, although conveniently disregarding the reality that their sellers weren’t inquiring for them. I could go on, but you get the plan.
Which is why this most up-to-date Diess-led VW initiative has all the indications of nevertheless one more German auto govt directive based on “We know what is greatest for you, even however you’re far too silly to determine it out for yourselves” sort of a participate in. Except this initiative stinks to large heaven, and if I have been a VW supplier, I would not allow Diess and his minions get absent with it.
And which is the Significant-Octane Fact for this 7 days.
The Scout renderings produced by VW past week.
Editor’s Notice: You can obtain earlier concerns of AE by clicking on “Up coming 1 Entries” under. – WG