Less than a month after Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to share his support for Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess, the German auto executive responded in kind, setting the record straight with some reporters at the company’s recent event for the new Golf.
While speaking to several reporters in the event for one of Volkswagen’s newest vehicles, it was suggested to the German executive that American electric car maker Tesla is in trouble because it’s a very small company. Despite the runaway success of the Tesla Model 3, the reporters indicated that they still view Tesla as a “niche” carmaker, capable of making low-volume vehicles well but otherwise out of its league in the mass market segment.
This was a comment that did not sit well with the Volkswagen CEO. Correcting the reporters, Diess came to Tesla’s defense, stating that the company is no longer a niche carmaker, and it has become an automaker that deserves to be considered as a serious competitor, even for established carmakers such as VW.
“Tesla is not niche. The Model 3 is a large-series model and they are one of the biggest manufacturers of electric-car batteries. We have a lot of respect for Tesla. It’s a competitor we take very seriously,” the CEO said.
In a way, Diess’ statements are a welcome form of support for the electric car maker and its CEO, Elon Musk, both of whom have weathered an onslaught of negativity for the better part of 2019. Despite this, Elon Musk expressed his support for VW’s efforts at producing electric cars, noting on Twitter last month that he is fully behind Herbert Diess’ initiatives to pursue electrification.
“Herbert Diess is doing more than any big carmaker to go electric. The good of the world should come first. For what it’s worth, he has my support,” Musk wrote.
The vote of respect from Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess comes as Tesla is seeing a strong recovery in the stock market. On Thursday, for example, TSLA shares rose over 17%, showing their biggest jump in 6.5 years following the release of its blockbuster Q3 2019 results. With this movement, Tesla has reclaimed a $53 billion market cap, making it the most prominent carmaker by valuation in the United States.
Tesla also beat GM, which has a market cap of $51 billion, to take the top spot in the process. Tesla’s short-sellers, who have been clamoring for TSLA shares to reach record lows, also felt a $1.4 billion burn that incinerated 70% of the profits they have logged over the year so far.