By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. Every time this small business looks to be lulling by itself into a tedious keeping pattern of waiting around for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Waiting around for Godot?) to EVs – with the intellect-numbing cadence, predictability and decades this will entail – blundering controversy often appears to be to be under no circumstances much absent. This week, it is individuals rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have appear to the front of the line, broadcasting their believed balloons out loud significantly to the consternation of everybody, primarily their very long-struggling U.S. dealers.
What have all those preening – “we’re geniuses, just check with us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. dealers this time? VW dropped the information – fully out of the blue, of program – that the enterprise would create a pickup and off-street-oriented SUV for the U.S. current market beneath the Scout title, not VW, starting in the year 2026.
There was pretty little substance to the announcement outside of that, which built VW sellers nuts and really suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was truly up to. Was Diess aiming to minimize U.S. VW sellers out of the equation and market directly to shoppers? That is a distinct possibility, as it’s typically identified that Diess is a big, unabashed fan of St. Elon. And the simple fact that there have been in essence no other particulars – as in zero – about the strategy forthcoming pretty a great deal verified those suspicions. No plant specifics, no original advertising and marketing tactic, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-current market by 2026.”
Do the U.S. VW dealers have great rationale to be suspicious? Definitely. The German-based VW executives have a lengthy historical past of abusing U.S. dealers. The abuses include things like: 1. Failing to receive even a modicum of comprehension of the U.S. marketplace, let by itself treatment. 2. Dim-bulb marketing and advertising and strategic conclusions centered on these exact executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. current market wanted, rather than listening to direct responses from the men and women who essentially understood the current market, aka the VW sellers. I could add several much more details, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW autos certain for the U.S., centered on the elementary assumption manufactured by people same German VW executives that they realized what was greatest, and aside from, the sellers would make it work somehow. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to listen to their U.S. sellers about the require for a larger, competitive SUV for this marketplace to the stage that it was nearly far too late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a lucrative lifesaver for the brand listed here.)
You are damn suitable VW sellers below in the U.S. have each individual purpose to be cautious of Herbert Diess and his longing to be viewed as a futurist and an EV visionary when it arrives to cementing VW’s potential position in the “Grand Transition.” Diess’ delusional thinking is no real surprise, either, thinking about it has been a trademark of every single German auto executive more than the final 40 a long time, at the very least (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just a single glaring case in point).
The educate of believed for these German automobile executives goes something like this:
“I am a genius, and it will be far better for all of us if you just settle for that fact.” (To be honest, this applies to selected infamous U.S. vehicle executives far too.)
“My gut thoughts are much better and a lot more precise than any research, in-market place dealer input or other reasoned information, primarily from the denizens of our U.S. industry outposts.” (Ditto, see over.)
“Anyone who thoughts my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential posture, under no circumstances to be listened to from again.”
But then all over again, none of this is astonishing to any German manufacturer supplier listed here in the U.S. It’s all the similar chorus regardless of whether it’s Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror tales from these dealers are eerily similar, and they all revolve all-around the fact that there has hardly ever been a far more miserable ton of so-called “executives” who have carried out much less with a lot more than your usual German car govt. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously stated in Casino: “These men could fuck-up a cup of coffee.”
I’ll give you a couple of illustrations. Don’t forget when BMW’s German executives adopted the straightforward word “Joy” for a global redirect of its advertising? And then they proceeded to consider to shove it down the throats of its U.S. dealers? The similar sellers who experienced been living, breathing and nurturing “The Best Driving Machine” – just one of the most legendary automobile advertising themes of all time – for about 30 a long time? Sure, BMW executives in Germany basically tried using to get the U.S. sellers to adopt “Joy.” And needless to say, it did not go perfectly. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was hardly ever listened to from or noticed again 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 less with more. They have botched product launches, tried to pawn-off fake Mercedes as authentic Mercedes, tried using to convince the American purchaser that the Clever auto was in fact really worth considering, squandered many years of a once-wonderful brand history by unleashing innumerable internet marketing screwups, unloaded far too many types in this industry by making niches upon niches that only served to confuse buyers, though conveniently disregarding the reality that their dealers weren’t asking for them. I could go on, but you get the notion.
That is why this most current Diess-led VW initiative has all the indications of nonetheless a different German car government directive primarily based on “We know what’s very best for you, even although you’re too silly to figure it out for yourselves” sort of a perform. Except this initiative stinks to large heaven, and if I had been a VW supplier, I wouldn’t permit Diess and his minions get away with it.
And that’s the High-Octane Fact for this 7 days.
The Scout renderings released by VW last week.
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