Saturday, November 1, 2008

VW’s Martin Winterkorn To World: “Don’t Panic!”

(First published in TheTruthAboutCars on October 30, 2008 )

“Was uns nicht umbringt, macht uns härter.” What doesn't kill us, make us stronger. Martin Winterkorn may not have quoted Friedrick Nietzsche in his speech at the International Zulieferer Börse (IZB), related to us via Automobilwoche [sub]. But the CEO of Volkswagen’s theme was clear. “Don’t panic!” Winterkorn said (in German). VW will emerge from the crisis “stronger than ever.” Winterkorn pointed to growth markets such as China– which did little to calm suppliers’ fears (unless they were Chinese). “In China, 100 million people have a driver’s license,” VW’s capo di tutti capi said. Correct. “Only 10 million have a private car,” he added.

Wrong. Matter of fact, nobody really knows how many private cars there are in China. once had two numbers in the same article: “The total number of private cars in China jumps 32.5% to 15.22 million units by the end of 2007,” Gasgoo wrote. A paragraph later.. “35.34 million are private cars, an increase of 20.8% from one year earlier.” It’s easy to get confused in China. But if VW, China’s largest auto manufacturer doesn’t know the market’s size, who does? OK, now you can panic. [NB: the IZB is an ingenious cost-cutting measure of VW Purchasing whereby parts suppliers meet in Volkswagen's Autostadt-- and pay for the privilege.]

(Picture courtesy of . Thank you!)

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