By on September 29, 2010

Recently, I’ve been watching a TV show called “Man Vs Food”. After watching the first season, I’ve learned 2 things: 1. There’s way too much food in the United States and 2. Getting greedy always causes problems. Setting a highly ambitious target only to figure out you’ve set the bar too high is embarrassing. But if you have a big enough stomach or a big enough ego, you can succeed. I suspect Martin Winterkorn has the latter.

Automotive News reports that Herr Winterkorn acknowledges that overtaking Toyota as number car maker in the world by 2018 is such a big challenge that he’s willing to stick around to the bitter end. “We know how ambitious our goals are,” said Herr Winterkorn in Der Spiegel (German newsmagazine), “All this won’t happen automatically.” And he’s not wrong. Volkswagen still has to absorb Porsche and establish ground rules with Suzuki. But Winterkorn set the goal and, to his credit, wants to see it through. The article goes on to say that he enjoys his role and that “(he) would not object to carrying on if the supervisory board should so wish” (Martin Winterkorn’s words). German weekly Focus, claims that VW is planning to extend Winterkorn’s contract for four more year to 2015. Even VW labor chief and deputy chair of the supervisory board, Bernd Osterloh said “our chief executive officer has advanced the company in every respect.” Well, with that kind of credit, consider the contract as signed.

You can tell Martin Winterkorn is an engineer at heart and not a “numbers” guy. Because if he was a numbers guy, he could have turned VW into the world’s biggest car maker overnight. Just simply add Suzuki’s sales figures onto Volkswagen’s and before you can say “Die Zahlen sind nicht richtig,” Volkswagen has reached their goal. Or maybe Suzuki is play too hard to get?

Now for the highly unusual part: Our resident VW insider, the BS, reports that  Volkswagen CEO are known to set ambitious long term plans so far out that they need to be reached long after their retirement. That way, the poor next guy will have to reach it. He’s no dummy, and he sets another long term goal, to be reached when he’s 70. Everybody goes “pheww” and is glad that the old wacko goal is forgotten. What’s going on this time?

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7 Comments on “Winterkorn Vs Toyota: It’ll Be A Long Game...”

  • avatar

    Seeing how that guy has changed over the course of the Man vs. Food shows, Food is winning handily.

  • avatar

    I’d be surprised if Adam Richman makes it to 40. There are a lot of people that can’t watch the show because it’s so disgusting, but I like watching it because the food usually looks pretty tasty and it’s fun to watch a fat American stuff their face. And it saves me from having to drive over to Old County Buffet to watch the fat people. For anyone that hasn’t been there before, check out It goes along well with Man vs. Food.
    As for VW reaching their sales goals…They might actually be able to do it based on how craptacular the new Jetta appears to be. If the Passat replacement is as bad, VW will have idiots lined up for their Americanized Passat with the big gulp convenience package.

  • avatar

    Maybe they should focus on more reliable cars instead of trying to be #1.

    • 0 avatar

      Quality and durability are both missing in the VW line up.
      I like the look of several of their cars, but cannot bring myself to buy one due to their reputation for breaking down.

  • avatar

    If my MKV GTI had been as reliable as my wife’s 2 year old MINI, I’d have kept it around.  As it stands, there is a Toyota in my garage (4Runner) and a Toyota on my future shopping list (FT-86).  VW isn’t on my radar.

  • avatar

    For the average cat on the street (i.e., those whose numbers count when going after the mass market) what would they choose: a cheap but dull although reliable Toyota, or a cheap but dull mostly decontented new-Jetta, featuring unknown pedigree and questionable (based on historical trend) reliability?  Sometimes I just don’t know what these Germans could be thinking.

  • avatar

    Alfa Romeo Interest
    And VW isn’t done with expansion yet . The German company is still interested in buying the Alfa-Romeo brand from Fiat SpA, supervisory board Chairman Ferdinand Piech told reporters late yesterday on the eve of the Paris Motor Show .

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