Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is contemplating another big challenge to electric-car company Tesla: He wants to replace the hitmaker’s CEO.
In an interview published Saturday in German magazine Der Spiegel, Diess says the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, spends too much time tweeting, and spends too little time managing the company, while Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller has “slumped” by the pace of work. Diess says this all is counter to his efforts to prevent “a repeat of the way the auto industry was run in the early 20th century.”
In the same interview, Diess says he’s “shorted Tesla,” meaning he purchased Volkswagen shares, as a hedge against their declining share price. “The biggest loser has to take care of the situation,” Diess told the magazine.
Here’s more from Diess from the interview:
“From the time I came to Volkswagen in 2015 and the time I arrived at the helm of the company, I made the energy management, of the electronic arm, my first priority. “When I brought in 1,200 workers from other companies, and then started the Graphene Factory with a big (investment) from the [VW] company, the first priority was to stop ‘looking at the website,’ and focus on the task of how to make Volkswagen a leader in this technology. “As the view of the thing has changed – you can already buy a Tesla, put it in your garage and drive it – there is a risk of the automaker becoming like that of the train company, which builds a lot of cars and does not do anything on the network end. On the other hand, the shift of the whole energy world towards the use of batteries, [and] the need to offer better services to these customers, requires us to … pull the whole production process into the network. “We won’t have to wait five years, we are having this launched already today and a second campus for it is under construction. “Graphene has changed the industry and you can already see it in the cars. But we didn’t stop there. Volkswagen, in conjunction with the Hauenstein Institute, set up a vehicle laboratory. We had a famous car that we revealed there and a battery which would later be used on the Porsche Taycan, we got a patent and we have a materials center in our research center. “We have demonstrated that we are not just for horsepower and engine power, we are also for technologies which can secure the energy needs of customers in the years to come.”
Read the full piece here.