Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess shared on Twitter that both Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, and INSEAD Professor Erin Meyer were in attendance at a Volkswagen Group meeting with 200 of the company’s top managers. The meeting took place in Alpbach and Elon Musk attended virtually. Deiss said that with a new mindset and revolution in its headquarters of Wolfsburg, VW can succeed in the new competition. He also mentioned that there’s big responsibility at a crucial point for VW and promised Elon that he would visit Giga Berlin soon.
With a new mindset & a revolution in our headquarter Wolfsburg we can succeed the new competition.Good meeting with 200 top managers in Alpbach. Big responsibility at a crucial point for our company. Thx for joining @ErinMeyerINSEAD & @elonmusk,we will visit you soon in Grünheide pic.twitter.com/dwYyXZnBT8
— Herbert Diess (@Herbert_Diess) October 16, 2021
In a LinkedIn post, Diess had more to say and he added that Elon Musk was a surprise guest.
“As a surprise guest Elon Musk joined us for a video talk in the evening. Happy to hear that even our strongest competitor thinks that we will succeed the transition if we drive the transformation with full power. One example for the speed of Tesla: They handle the chip shortage very well — the reason: they are developing their own software. Within just 2-3 weeks they had a new software which allows to use different chips. Impressive.”
Diess explained that VW needs a new mindset in order to compete in a world of Teslas, NIOs, XPengs, etc. He held a 3-day meeting with the company’s top managers from around the world and spoke about his confidence that VW has everything it needs to take on the new challenges.
“We need a new mindset at Volkswagen AG to take on the new competition! After three days with 200 top managers from around the world I am confident: We have everything we need to tackle the challenges. Right strategy, right competencies, right management team. We can do it – but we have to deliver now.
“In the old world, Volkswagen is strong, but there is no guarantee for the new world. It’s a crucial moment for our company. Erin Meyer told us about the impressive and fascinating transformation Netflix went through – inspirational. We are far away from that today, but need to get there: faster decisions, less bureaucracy, more responsibility.”
Another key point of the meeting was the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, which Diess talked about revolutionizing.
“Was great to meet the colleagues in person & to discuss how we transform the Group as fast as possible. One big topic: Our headquarter Wolfsburg, our biggest and most traditional site. With Trinity, we will revolutionize it to compete with Tesla in Grünheide where they will build cars with an impressive speed and productivity. Ralf Brandstätter has already many ideas how to build a new factory within the old one.
“Let’s revolutionize Wolfsburg, Volkswagen & make the biggest transformation in history of our Group reality.”
A Brave & Smart Step
First and foremost, VW did what President Biden refused to do. President Biden held a White House meeting/event that was supposedly focused on EVs and Tesla should have had a presence there. Instead, the White House went out of its way to snub Tesla.
In stark contrast, VW reached out to Tesla and invited Elon Musk to attend its company meeting. VW wants to compete with Tesla, and by “competing,”‘ the company actually joins Tesla on its mission to accelerate the world to sustainability.
By collaborating with a competitor, VW is taking steps toward helping to heal our planet from the massive amounts of pollution caused by the transportation industry. And it put aside the competitive spirit in favor of collaboration. I would like UAW and President Biden to do the same, honestly. Put aside political games in favor of helping the citizens who they are supposed to work for. UAW is supposed to protect its union workers, and what better way to protect them than by moving towards an actual solution that would help reduce greenhouse gases.
Second, VW is also recognizing the fact that the industry is changing and Deiss wants the company to not only survive the changes but thrive in them. I think that he’s doing the right thing, but I noticed that some of the comments to his post on LinkedIn were a bit skeptical.
One commentator noted that such transformation takes action, which means risks, and until Volkswagen’s managers are willing to fail, to take those risks, this type of transformation won’t happen. In order to fully succeed, Volkswagen has to be okay with failing and consider it as an option. And then be willing to keep trying and never give up until it makes that transformation.
But if it succeeds, it will have proven to be a powerful ally for Tesla and those of us advocating for EVs and clean energy. And this is what we want.
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