Elon Musk must be thrilled.
For years, mainstream automakers, such as Volkswagen, typically did not view Tesla as a true automaker, but rather a hi-tech startup. That viewpoint is clearly no longer relevant as the Volkswagen Group's CEO, Herbert Diess, just made perfectly clear in some recent comments at an event celebrating the launch of the all-new Golf hatchback. Bloomberg has an interesting report where Diess' comments not only acknowledge Tesla as a formidable competitor but also a growing friendship between himself and Elon Musk.
"Tesla is not niche," Diess said. "The Model 3 is a large-series model and they are one of the biggest manufacturers of electric-car batteries." Diess has basically said what so many other automaker CEOs have not but already fully understand. "We have a lot of respect for Tesla," Diess continued. "It's a competitor we take very seriously."
So why is Diess making these statements at this time? Perhaps it's because Musk not so long ago praised Diess on Twitter for "doing more than any big carmaker to go electric." Remember, VW has committed itself to invest some $50 billion on electric vehicles and associated tech development over the next several years.
All of this comes in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal where VW got caught cheating on diesel emissions tests. By the time all was said and done, meaning mass recalls and fines, VW was forced to fork over $30 billion. But as VW continues to state, Dieselgate is all in the past and it's now fully committed to an electric future.
Diess' words regarding Tesla are simply additional proof. Last month, VW unveiled the all-new ID.3 EV, which will not be sold in the US. The upcoming ID.4 crossover, however, will be. This crossover is based on the same platform as the ID.3 hatchback but has been designed specifically for the US market. It is due to be revealed as early as this February.