In what seems to be yet another statement of support for Tesla, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has noted that the electric car maker may find Germany a more accommodating place for EV manufacturing compared to the United States. The VW CEO’s comments were related during a conversation with analysts and investors on Monday.
While addressing Tesla’s intention to build its Gigafactory 4 in Germany, Diess stated that Elon Musk is likely looking for a location that provides the environment and infrastructure that can foster the development and production of high-quality cars. The executive explained that this environment and infrastructure is present in Germany, but not so much in California, where Tesla is based.
“What Tesla probably is looking for is the environment, the infrastructure, to build high-quality cars, which is probably much more the case here in Germany than on the West Coast of the United States,” he said.
In a way, Diess’ statement does hold a lot of water considering that Germany is known for its mastery in automotive building. Thus, by tapping into the country’s talent base with its European Gigafactory, Tesla may be able to raise its vehicles’ quality to be up to par compared to premium German rivals such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Such a strategy could only be beneficial for Tesla in the long run.
That being said, Tesla’s entry into Germany may also present some challenges, considering that the American automaker is known for its demanding workload for its employees. Tesla operates much like a Silicon Valley startup, and thus, its workers are known to work long hours regularly. It remains to be seen if Germany’s veteran automotive workforce would be open to such a tense environment.
While Tesla and Volkswagen could be considered as rivals in the electric vehicle sphere, the automakers’ CEOs have developed a bond of sorts over the years. Diess, similar to Musk, is a strong proponent of electromobility, and this is something that the Tesla CEO has publicly acknowledged. Following a report criticizing Diess’ timing when he joined Volkswagen, for one, Musk was quick to defend the executive, stating that Diess is doing the most among automakers to go electric.
“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 on Twitter.
Diess, for his part, has returned the favor. The VW CEO was quick to correct members of the media when he was asked about Tesla and its “niche automaker” status, explaining that the Model 3 is a mass-produced vehicle. When Musk accepted the Golden Steering Wheel award in Germany recently, Diess also acknowledged that the Tesla CEO is pushing the industry forward.
“This evening is very important because you now see electric cars (are) very competitive (and) winning an open competition. That’s why Tesla is very important for us because Elon is demonstrating that it works,” Diess said.