Comment: Herbert Diess should be less provocative – economy

This week Volkswagen was once again a scene that offers entertaining material. Earlier this week, the boss Herbert Diess sent an animated selfie of himself and an electric VW around the world. A weekend in Styria where the two were shining in the sun.

The employee representatives of the largest European industrial group have little to do with this self-representation, which it often practices, but the new boss of the works council Daniela Cavallo has so far left it. to shut up. But this week his collar burst, understandably: this is an unprecedented provocative act, never in the history of Volkswagen has a manager been so ignorant and disrespectful to the workforce. in times of crisis, she wrote in a letter as open as it was sharp. . It was about his self-portrait, but mostly about the fact that the CEO also wants to have the scene all to himself in Wolfsburg. Due to a trip to investors in the United States, he was unable to attend the regular business meeting (the first in two years), he said. Instead, he had organized a separate hearing for 200 employees.

Cavallo’s message worked. This is happening now, the investor visit has been postponed. The curtain could now fall and the audience could say – quite accurately -: The right side prevailed. A diplomatic employee wins over a cheeky employer, so to speak. Wolfsburg across Wall Street. Participation in large companies.

But the next act is sure to come – and the underlying problem is bigger than these scenes.

Because Diess has the trillion in mind, that is to say Elon Musk, who in the meantime has pushed Tesla to this market value. The VW Group builds around 20 times as many vehicles as Tesla – but is only worth a seventh, despite all brands from Audi to Porsche. Catching up seems a long way off, as the main VW brand needs twice as long to build a car as its American competitor.

Volkswagen needs to get more modern – but not by imitating American competition

Diess’ plan, understandable at first glance: VW should become like Tesla. He also imitates Elon Musk personally. Everything pays off. Her communications strategy included selfies and live chats with the model, the planned trip to the United States to see investors and the pressure from her board of directors on the Wolfsburg headquarters. More efficiency! Faster decisions! Otherwise, the situation will soon be fatal!

The finding is correct, yes, but Diess must also be aware that market value is not the deciding factor for VW’s success. The Land of Lower Saxony and the Porsche and Piëch families own three quarters of the company. Finances are well organized at the moment. And the folks at VW are more loyal to their company than they are elsewhere, which is also due to the special word embedded in the law.

These structures can only be seen as a hindrance, especially if, like Diess, she is constantly compared to Tesla, where Musk reigns as sole ruler. Or you take VW for what it is: a company with a high level of competence and a solid foundation. And it’s incredibly complicated and also encrusted, of course that too. VW absolutely needs to renew itself. But Diess’s continued use of destructive devices – the images used by VW employees vary from mass to arson – does the company no good. At least not in this frequency. Because glasses small and large and friction cost attention in all departments, with a total of 670,000 people. And waste time that VW does not have.

Especially since in reality all the forces concerned, including the employees of the Cavallo in fact compensatory, want to successfully lead this store into the future, at the end of which there is the autonomous electric car and as many jobs as possible. This path is exhausting and difficult anyway – even without communicative drama.

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