Elon Musk: Here’s How I’d Run Volkswagen If I Were Boss

OCT 7 2015 BY MARK KANE 97

Elon Musk would run VW differently

Elon Musk would run VW differently

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently shared his advice on running Volkswagen.

First of all, Elon stated what others have proposed (VW should commit to cleaner vehicles for redemption):

“If I was taking over VW, I’d go the other way and aim to be a leader [in clean vehicles].”

“Maybe the path to redemption is towards clean vehicles.”

The Tesla CEO believe that companies that do not switch to electric cars over time will eventually go out of business, so for VW this could be the time to go electric.

“All car companies will go electric eventually. Any car company that doesn’t go electric will be out of business.”

“With hydrocarbon combustion we’ve hit the limits of physics – improvements are very tiny. There must have been lots of VW engineers under pressure – they’ve run into a physical wall of what might be possible so trickery was the only option.”

Elon further notes that current emissions testing should reflect realities, including aging of vehicles.

“Cars are best when they’re new. There’s massive degradation over time.”

Of course, electric cars don’t emit more over time. Their emissions remain at zero.

Source: Auto Express

Categories: Tesla, Volkswagen

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97 Comments on "Elon Musk: Here’s How I’d Run Volkswagen If I Were Boss"

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He speaks the truth.

ROTFLMAO! That guy doesn’t even know how to run a 40k cars per year company. The more he keeps his mouth shut, the better for everyone.

Is he up to the challenge thrown at him by Bob Lutz on CNBC?
Quoting Bob Lutz: “I defy Elon to show me one car model from one car company that makes money”.

Last time I checked the factory at Fremont was humming along and Tesla customers were happy with their cars. So not sure what you mean by “can’t even run”. It’s running fine.

Bob Lutz was a top GM veteran. Is GM your model for good car company management? That would explain a lot.

@ Alonso,

Let’s face it, Lutz is married to Detroit. Electric cars are basically a flirtation, a kind of mistress for him.

Bob thinks that just because he got behind Volt development that this gives him eternal
“street cred.” with true EV bangers. So, he goes on TV as an “expert” and takes broadsides at anybody who is really sincere about electric cars.

Let’s face it. At least part of the reason for Volt development was for emissions compliance.

In the end, Lutz is married to Detroit and will never leave his beloved ICE wife of many years for some ‘floozy’ who drives a Model S.

Do I think Lutz is really interested in promoting EVs ? The answer in a single word is NO.

With 49% year over year growth, 26% margin on every car he sells, and virtually zero ev competition, Musk has done what no car company has done. Most car companies idea of innovation is changing the paint color from year to year. In terms of Profit, his business plan always expected huge capital costs and eventual profit in 2020. Tesla did not have decades to creates manufacturing plants.

Same answer: ROTFLMAO 🙂 This tax payer subsidized bondoogle for the riches makes money only on the ZEV credits. The gross margin reported by Elon and Tesla are pure BS; just like the second row folding seats for Model X and bunch of other hogwash. It LOSES $4000 on every car it sells. How much will it lose when it tries to sell that imaginary mass market model 3?

My suggest to Elon on how to run Tesla is to shut up and focus on real business, its own business.

You should follow your own advice; “The more you keep your mouth shut, the better for everyone.”



Begone Anti-EV troll!

The only reason Government Motors “GM” is in business today…tax payer bailout. GM is the welfare queen of American car companies. DON’T BE A LUTZ…LOL

by that rationale, the only reason why Tesla is in business is because of federal tax breaks and income from energy credit swaps. Tesla is a heavily government subsidized entity. i don’t object to than any more than i object to mortgage interest tax breaks because the purpose of the subsidy is to advance government policy to reduce auto emissions.

Tesla owes nothing to the government at the opposite of billions borrowed by Ford and Nissan.
Incentives and ZEV credits are to help clean the air and diminish global warming.

Tesla does what no other does : they commit seriously in electric cars.

Yeah, we’re rolling on the floor, laughing our arses off, all right… at how the Tesla-hating trolls are so upset about the successful rollout of the new Model X!

Every frothing-at-the-mouth post from the likes of “See Through” is merely an indication that those who foolishly keep short-selling TSLA know they’re losing money.

Hey See Through! Can you say “short squeeze”? Again and again and again?


🙂 🙂 🙂

I believe Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, stated they’re making money on the Nissan Leaf.

Wow, didn’t know that. Very cool if true.

And how’s the company you’re running doing?

That good?

Fixed that for you Steven: How’s your Mom’s basement that you are running doing See Through?

As if GM is a good example of running a car company. Ha Ha

Very sad comment, have you checked his resume? Or his wiki page? . Among his projects, Tesla, the company so disrupting that makes looks those Germans and caddies like garbage.

There is furtunately more to some people then money – thats also what Musk is about….. Somebody has to step up and make a change. If the only driver is money history has shown that we will continue down a bad path. Think bigger

“I defy Elon to show me one car model from one car company that makes money”.

Where did this (obviously misquoted) quote come from? I’m not finding it online except here.

But let’s assume Lutz said something like “…show me one EV model … that makes money.”

Lutz might have said that in 2009 and been right. But since then, for every quarter but one Tesla has had a positive gross profit margin. For 25 out of 26 quarters Tesla sold its cars for a healthy amount more than what it cost them to manufacture them. And by some of the highest GPMs in the car manufacturing industry.


Take a look at Tesla’s record. Click on the Ford, GM and Nissan pages in the upper right and compare.

Hard to believe Lutz made that statement in the last few years. Lutz is in the car business, he knows exactly what GPMs are. And he knows that spending to expand the company can show as a loss but it’s really an investment.

Not only do EVs continue to emit NOTHING for their entire life, but the electricity itself gets cleaner over time, as we continue to clean up the grid.

Yes, my point also. Although people in general doesnt seem to be able to think dyanamically but rather statically. Maybe because its easier to set thoughts straight once and for all.

I agree – VW has just barely begun to make EV’s and plugin hybrids. I drive an e-Golf, and while it is a fine car, it has some rough edges (so to speak) on the EV functions.

On a related note: do we know anything new about VW and QuantumScape?


If VW has any good news on this, I would hope they would tell us!

They were supposed to announce if they were going to commit to the new “battery tech” at end of June or July. It was the same time the announced a commitment to LG Chem as their battery supplier.
Either the battery tech isn’t ready for prime time or VW didn’t want to invest heavily battery manufacturing.
At this point, unless VW is breaking ground on a Gigafactory, I wouldn’t trust anything they have to say about “future” developments.

I assume, that the electronics in an EV don’t degrade over time. If the battery degrades over time, does the charging efficiency degrade too or just the maximum capacity?

Charging efficiency does degrade, but not quickly.

Also, some folks have found that they have to clean their charge plug connections with alcohol to keep the charging connection perfect. I don’t know if that could degrade charging efficiency if you didn’t clean your dirty plugs?

Sure, dirty connectors = poor electrical connections = increased resistance = lower charging efficiency.

I don’t know what the percentage loss of efficiency would be, but according to one report, the increased resistance can be sufficient when using a Supercharger (with dirty connections) to make the charging cable too hot to handle.

Hmm! Why would you assume that? The high voltage power components DO degrade over time. Ask any Model S owners how many motors Tesla replaced on their cars.

My extended family own six Model S sedans. Zero motors have been replaced. In fact, we have all been marveling about the amazing reliability and lack of service needed. Prior to Tesla, I never thought I would own an American car (mostly Subarus and Toyotas). Now, I can’t imagine not owning a Tesla.

See Through, I commend you for your consistency in incompetence and mis-information. You really do stay the course, never deviating towards insightful commentary or useful facts.


you’ve got a wealthy family. any of them got a Benz S-class?

Why would they want an inferior ICE car?

in the US, i suspect that many Tesla owners also own Benzos, B’mers and Benleys.

Yes they do, Ferrari Porsche Jag etc. And from what I read, after a while they sell those stinkin’ noisy, slowish things to keep the Tesla.

Elon is Soooo Rite! The Other emission Is “Noise”,the 0ne that Everyone seems to forget to mention .”NOISE POLLUTION”..I was going opposite a Tesla Model S today & there was Zero Noise, What a Tranquil Feeling of Peace & Quiet.I suddenly realized how Nice that was, If 0nly a few seconds , It was a Welcomed change for me…Imagine a World Without The constant Hustle & Bustle Of Noise Pollution..

+1 I live beside a busy road and would love one day to see cars go past with nothing but a little tire noise. 🙂

YES, it would be wonderful indeed.

As shown in this beautiful commercial
(already highlighted by InsideEVs)
by… VW!

It came out just a few days before the scandal erupted.
And it went viral:
6.5 million views in a few weeks!
Many people seem to care about silence!!

Interestingly, that video appears to be banned in the USA.

youtube says I’m not allowed to view it from the USA.

Verboten in USA!

Buy our diesels instead!


Do a search on “e-mobility”, and you should find it.

In Canada as well!


VW got singled out. By luck but still got singled out.

Whatever tests they did on VW products, they SHOULD do it on all the other manufacturers vehicles.

It wasn’t just luck. The original tests that set this off were of two VWs but also a BMW X5. The X5 on road emissions met specifications. The VWs were exceeding by 20 to 40 times (not percent).

The BWM X5 uses a urea injection system, and has a urea tank you need to refill every so often. VW decided that they didn’t want to spend the money on such a system, so they cheated instead.

VW didn’t get singled out by luck. They made a management decision to poison the air their customers, and the rest of us, breathe, to enhance their profit.

Thank you, Alonso. The “Well, everybody was doing it” excuse doesn’t fly here.

EU governments screwed up on a massive scale by giving tax breaks to encourage diesel and none are stepping up to own that. They actively encouraged it so now its 50% diesel.
Even worse is that the vast majority of these so called fixes to make diesel safer only work once the car is hot, so is useless for those will short drives.

I know so many diesel truck drivers that remove dpf filters and egr coolers basically taking there new 2015 truck and giving it the emissions of a 1985…

You cant remove the emissions equipment on a EV!

Sure you can, but your likelihood of getting arrested is far, far greater if you try! 😉

An EV or plug-in Beetle/Beetle convertible should have been introduced with the current generation. It’s whimsical and frugal history makes it the perfect nameplate for an affordable EV varient.

elon musk’s comments are entirely self-serving. unlike Tesla, Volkswagen’s main business is not selling $100,000 cars. Volkswagen can ill-afford to center their business on expensive BEV cars that few people can, or wish to, afford. people act like this is the first time that there has ever been a scandal in the automotive industry. Volkswagen should handle this one the same way that other scandals have been addressed. the real mission is to limit the damage by recalling the affected “clean diesel” cars and fix the problem.

So says the serial Tesla-Haters.

The fact is that NOBODY has done more to move the needle on the electrification of transportation then Elon Musk and Tesla.

Elon is saying VW can’t afford not to develop more EVs.

Not every EV is $100k. Also VW does have a fairly large brand that does sell $100k vehicles (Porsche).

Shoot, they also own Bugatti, so $100k is cheap in the grand scheme of things.

If they could just “fix the problem” they would have done so already. The problem is evidence that you cannot achieve diesel emissions targets and decent performance without a urea injection system, which VW omitted to save money. It’s not exactly trivial to attempt a retrofit. It would take several months of engineering effort, then parts would need to be produced, then distributed, and then installed, in 11 million cars. All told it would take around a year for the whole fleet, at least.

A software update would result in really bad mileage and lowered performance. The root problem is that diesels inherently are efficient with a highly oxygen rich mix, which is why the extra oxygen combines with nitrogen and you get all that NOx.

Did anybody ever mention to you that selling Model S and X is only a step to gain cash and build an affordable clean car for the masses? Yes I’m sure you knew that. Hater.


VW does own Buggati,Porsche,Bently,Lamborghini so plenty of cars over $100k

Volkswagen’s main business is in the VW and Audi product lines. the problem facing Volkswagen is declining sales in those product lines. i’m sure the electric vehicles are in the long term product plan for Volkswagen, but they have to manage their current portfolio so that they can get to execute their long term vision.

the main thrust of my comment is: don’t be so gullible people, elon musk is not a “scientist”; he’s a businessman who has an economic interest. therefore, anything that he says publicly has to be viewed from that perspective. it is simply ridiculous to suggest that Volkswagen should immediately abandon their ICE product lines and go “all in” on BEVs. it is doubly ridiculous given that most auto makers are going primarily in the direction of introducing PHEVs because that is a more practical way to approach electronic vehicles at present.

Where did Elon suggest that VW drop all their ICE vehicles immediately and only make EVs? All he is saying is they should switch gears to make EVs (and cleaner cars in general) the main priority.

Saw a meme online of a Tesla Model S going down the road and the caption read:

“The Entire Vehicle is an Emissions Defeat Device.”

Made me smile. 🙂

Not sure if this is cheer or jeer at Tesla.

In these sarcastic times, I suppose it’s hard to tell: but it was all cheer to me. 😀

Yes, of course. When no one is checking the pollution at the coal plant, the mining factory and the battery factory, it all makes sense.

I can’t believe my eyes, See-through is disinforming!?! 😉

See the purple bit vs the grey mess

does this chart assume that there is no CO2 produced in the making of gasoline?

Where I am, most of our power is hydroelectric.

How much cleaner do you want?

Facts don’t matter to a troll like “See Through”. If the Model S actually sucked pollution out of the air when you drive, he’d whine “There is still some pollution in the air, so that doesn’t matter.”

Yes, See Through doesn’t do facts, only thoroughly discredited right-wing FUD!

hey, hey, hey . . . let’s don’t blame see through ignorance on the ‘right wing’. There are plenty of us right wing nuts that believe in EV technology. I drive a C-Max Energi and liked it so much we bought my wife a Leaf. We may have different reasons for believing in EV technology but that doesn’t mean we the anti-EV haters are all right wing.

See the solution proposed for VW :


What Musk says he would do as VW boss is exactly what VW is doing. It seems that Musk failed to notice that VW group is already selling more EVs than Tesla (comparing 2015 global sales).

Not sure about worldwide but the us numbers look like 17000 tesla model s vs 2555 VW egolf and 1251 Porsche plugin hybrids.

VW is currently only making compliance vehicles, not useful long range vehicles with “free for life” access to DC Fast Charging at 120 kWs.

Let me know when VW is actually doing what Elon would do. 😛

No, it’s not.

What percentage of VW’s building capacity is devoted to BEVs?


LOL Elon sure has a bunch of opinions.

He has a lot of data and he makes decisions based off that.

Opinions imply a lack of understanding about a specific subject, which in this case, is cars and carbon emissions.

In this particular case– I would give Elon the benefit of a doubt, being a CEO of an international selling Car Company that’s promoting sustainable transport. 😛

Mr. Musk must mature as an executive and focus on his own business vs spending time commenting on that of others and wing walking. Else he will be displaced just as Steve Jobs once was and Tesla will stall and nosedive.

No, you misunderstand. His business *IS* changing the global model of making fossil fuel vehicle companies transition to BEV.

As for maturity, I think someone who’s CEO of aerospace, solar and vehicle companies (all successful), shows more maturity than most.

Successful business is defined by profit which none of these businesses have. Even PayPal was only pro forma profitable when eBay acquired it. These businesses are influential not yet successful – there is a huge difference, and it is a concern that Mr Musk has never seen a business through to sustained profitability. The executive skills required are different for different phases in the life of a business.

There’s your problem. All you are thinking about is “making money” Its not about making money.

Elon wants to change the world, thats the difference. Elon doesnt want to make tons of cars to make tons of money.

You are the one with the wrong mindset.

Nope. A successful business is one that meets the goals of the owners of the business. Tesla is meeting the goals of Musk, other principal shareholders, and most retail shareholders as well.

At this stage and for the foreseeable future, that goal is growth. I’m sure over 95% of current shareholders would rather see a gigafactory, expanded store, supercharger, and service networks, and model III, instead of a dividend.

rs_rwc said:

“Successful business is defined by profit which none of these businesses have.”

It’s a rather warped definition of “profit” you have if, in your book, a company is not profitable when it’s selling cars for a lot more than it pays to make them.

Is Tesla investing more money in future growth than it’s making on selling cars? Yes, but it’s a perverted way of looking at the situation to say “That means Tesla isn’t profitable.”

If Joe, who runs the corner barber shop, had more business than he could handle, so took out a loan to buy a bigger shop and install more barber chairs, would you then describe his business as “unprofitable” during the years he spends paying back the loan? I’ll bet you wouldn’t. Yet for some reason, when it’s a multi-billion dollar company, you decide to use a different yardstick.

i won’t comment on your example, but there are generally accepted criteria for objectively determining whether a company is or is not profitable. under those generally accepted objective criteria, Tesla is not currently profitable, but as a i recall, Tesla’s losses last year were less than in previous years.

The new CEO of VW had sometimes spent times commenting business of others. For example, in last March in a conference at Stuttgart, he said:“Tesla has built an exceptional car. They have a very pragmatic approach and set the standard, where we have to follow up now.”
I hope as he is in charge of VW now, he will actually follow the steps of this immature executive as you portrait him…

The Model S alone is better than every car in VW’s line up in its history.

VW needs to take notes

Take notes VW

every car you make is crap and non desirable, stop and evaluate what you are doing and think about one the great Elon Musk said, the man with the greatest car ever made, i’d f**king listen!

Tesla sales are minuscule compared to those of Volkswagen. i don’t think that Volkswagen would find it particularly desirable to downsize to Tesla-size.

personally, i think that elon musk would be more interested in *selling* Tesla to Volkswagen, because i have long believed that musk’s primary motivation was to manage Tesla to develop assets for ultimate sale at which point he can “cash out”. when i see Tesla implementing impractical ideas like falcon wing doors, i am thinking: this isn’t a business that is being run with the intention of being a stand-alone going concern.

” impractical ideas like falcon wing doors”
oh! You did tried them don’t you?

Thankfully, folks who believe as you do aren’t running Tesla.

Let’s examine your flawed logic Mark Speigel or Anton Wahlman or whatever desperate Tesla short seller you are.

If in fact Musk is trying to manage Tesla so he can cash out at the highest price, why would he implement Falcon Wing Doors that are “impractical” according to you and the other trolls if that would make it less likely to facilitate a sale of Tesla and a cash out for Musk?

Unfortunately for you the evidence points to the opposite conclusion, Musk is following his stated plan to force the rest of the establishment auto industry to shift over to electric cars by having Tesla build compelling cars that force the laggards to move to electric.

Before Elon starts telling other auto manufacturers how to run their business, he should first concentrate on producing the products his own company sells on time and on budget. Sheesh!

Volkswagen should buy back every one of the effected cars.

Does anyone realize the true genius of Tesla and Elon Musk. Every step they make has a final goal in mind. They will be the major players in car manufacturing, home energy production and storage, vehicle recharging to replace fossil fuel eventually. Then solar city for replacing the existing hydro companies and space x for the next step off this planet. After that I see the possibility for a TESLA asteroid mining corporation and then manufacturing development for further space exploration. Everyone else is thinking small. He probably should run Volkswagen or at least be hired as a consultant.

Its a good point about deteriorating emission standards over time.. anyone have any data or graphics on how bad it is?