By on September 15, 2010

We expect to be in profit in the market by 2013… I’m sure those statements were based on some sound analysis.

Volkswagen’s new US boss Jonathan Browning gives his company’s forecast of its future performance (which previously elicited TTAC’s coveted “flying pigs illustration award”)… before totally blowing his credibility by admitting he knows nothing about the matter [via MSNBC]. In front of the National Press Club, no less. Then, for good measure, the former GM and Ford man added

Not many people of my generation don’t have fond memories of the VW Beetle and the VW Microbus.

Which is not unlike saying that not many Americans don’t fail to remember whether Volkswagen has produced cars that may or may not have come up short of not failing in the marketplace. The irony of all this: English is Browning’s first language. The big lesson: German execs are far more endearing when they come across as out-of-touch and incomprehensible.

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12 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Off To A Bad Start Edition...”

  • avatar

    The double negative is awkward, but it didn’t strike me as a gaffe.
    I’m also surprised to learn they consider themselves to be struggling in the US…I would have agreed with that up until a couple of years ago, when sales really took off. Looks like things are stagnating again…
    Overally, though, they’ve doubled market share here in the last decade or so, which is a pretty nice accomplishment. Far more mainstream people I know are familiar with VW’s cars compared to just a few years ago, but that could just be a response to marketing.

  • avatar

    At least to me, Browning comes off as an out of touch douche.  Guess what Jonathan, not many people don’t remember getting it up the ass from VW dealerships and customer service.

  • avatar

    It’s not uncommon for litotes to be intentionally used as a rhetorical device.

  • avatar

    So this guy Browning is a douche, a tool and mangler of the English language? Hey, he sounds perfect to run a German auto company’s US operations.
    Speaking of douches….
    For a change, Autoextremist’s Sweet Pete does a pretty good Rant this week on VW’s ridiculous product and sales expansion goals.

  • avatar

    In grumpy, grave German auto company, negative doubles YOU!
    beat THAT, Berliners!!!
    I double-dawg dare ya. :P

  • avatar

    After a lengthy career at the old GM, I am not sure that english is still his first language.
    Mr. Browning’s comment seems aimed at a friend of mine.  He had long and happy experiences with a 63 Beetle and a 71 Ghia convertible.  Then he bought an 80 Beetle convertible.  It would not run in wet weather.  When it did run, it was woefully underpowered.  He sold it after a year and has never owned another VW.  And he is 70 years old. 
    Look, Mr. Browning.  Many people fondly remember their 67 Camaros, 65 Mustangs, 68 Chargers, ad nauseum.  These people are now buying their last Buick/Grand Marquis.  You need to worry about the many, many people with not-so-fond memories of your products of the 80s and 90s.  Send some people to talk to some independent mechanics who will tell them to run, not walk, away from a used modern VW.

  • avatar

    Volkswagen no longer offers anything remotely similar to the original Beetle or the Microbus.

  • avatar

    What exactly is wrong with VW staying as a botique brand in North America? They should keep competing against Subaru and Mazda, not turn themselves into Toyota, Honda, or Ford. Speaking of Ford, who wants to bet there will be more than a few Jetta owners switching to the 2012 Focus? Even Chevy is ADDING content and quality to their compact entry rather than cheapening it. This is such an idiotic move.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    @BDB – Nothing wrong with it, except that they are losing money.

    • 0 avatar

      Given their dominance in every other market in the world outside of North America, is that really much of an issue?
      With this new strategy they’re going to lose even more money here and alienate their core customers.

      Audi is doing well and their 2018 goals for Audi are actually believable. Make VW a loss-leader for Audi. I don’t think it will ever be anything else here.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      You may be right – I have my doubts about their prospects for success, too.
      Maybe as well then that they’ve now got themselves a GM veteran – he will know how to spin a disaster in the making.

  • avatar

    In addition to looking at improving quality, Volkswagen should initiate some customer support. View my VW experience at:

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