When it comes to Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess, talk about Tesla and CEO Elon Musk has generated negatives and positives over the years. This makes perfect sense since the two are rivals, and VW Group aims to be Tesla's largest competitor in the global EV space.
At the same time, Diess has given Tesla and Musk their due credit, because, without them, electric vehicles would not be where they are today. This is huge coming from the chief of the largest automaker in the world, who's leading brands on monumental future electric car efforts.
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that Diess went to bat for Tesla when reporters at a recent event were speaking of the automaker's troubles and small size. Diess responded:
“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.”
Bloomberg noticed Diess defending Elon Musk when, while Tesla's stock soared this week, reporters continued to bash the automaker. The publication actually went so far as to point out a 'budding bromance' between the two high-profile CEOs.
On the other side of the coin, Musk has made it clear that he believes Diess is doing more than any other major automaker in its effort to go electric. Even with VW's history related to the Dieselgate scandal, Musk publicized his support.
Nonetheless, Diess did make it clear that producing electric cars is expensive, and reaching a massive global scale will not be easy for Tesla. He concluded:
"Scaling up globally is difficult. The car industry is very capital intense, and electric cars make it even more capital intense.”