Volkswagen's Winterkorn Rattled By Non-Rattling Hyundai I30 – This Could Cost Careers
At the Frankfurt Auto Show, when all the festivities and pageantry are over, it is customary to stroll through the booths, stands and halls of the competition to find out what they have. The real research is done by faceless drones that pose as journalists or customers. The drones must have brought back alarming intell to Halle 3, where Volkswagen holds court: “Ach du mein Lieber, Hyundai fielded a fearsome adversary to the Golf with the new i30.”
The whole white-haired Volkswagen board dropped their coffee cups and invaded the Hyundai display, led by Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen. Winterkorn himself sat behind the wheel of the i30. The former head of Quality Assurance was shocked:
He pulled on the adjuster of the steering column, and heard – nothing. At Volkswagen, there is an audible (“klonk!) feedback whenever the steering column is adjusted.
Immediately, Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Brand Design was summoned. He pulled on the adjuster: No sound.
“Da scheppert nix,” exclaimed Winterkorn in his heavy Bavarian accent. “There is no rattle!”
Winterkorn was livid: “How did he pull that off?” He, the blasted Korean. “BMW doesn’t know how. We don’t know how.” He, the blasted Korean, must have found out how to battle the dreaded Scheppern.
Tension is high. This could affect careers. Someone quickly explains that there had been a solution, “but it was too expensive.” That gets Winterkorn is even more enraged. “Then, why does he know how?” For less money. He, the Korean. There is no answer. Hyundai has beaten Volkswagen at the Scheppern front.
Winterkorn measures the A-pillar, runs his hands over the plastic. He walks away, his entourage trots after him. Deeply in thought and very worried.
Winterkorn’s Strategie 2018 calls for a decimation of Toyota. Toyota will be behind Volkswagen this year. The new enemy, much to Volkswagen’s confusion, is GM. Now, with a silent i30, will Volkswagen have to fight Hyundai?
The Japanese are just as worried of the Koreans, and will gladly join a coalition.
(And if Hyundai snuck the original video on YouTube: Good for them. That’s how it’s done these days in the propaganda business.)
Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.
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