Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess is an outspoken admirer of Tesla and its boss Elon Musk, praising the EV maker for its achievements and innovation on several occasions.
While the German executive's "bromance" with the US billionaire entrepreneur has annoyed some members of VW Group's board, especially works council boss Daniela Cavallo, Diess has made it clear that Tesla cannot be ignored. In November 2021, he gave this reply to those who criticised him for comparing VW with Tesla, as per a Reuters report.
"Even if I no longer talk about Elon Musk: he'll still be there and revolutionises our industry and keeps getting more competitive quickly."
Needless to say, Diess has continued to give credit to Tesla even after he made the above statement. Most recently, the CEO praised Tesla's Giga Texas plant during his visit to Austin for the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival this past weekend, where the VW ID. Buzz has made its first public appearance.
In a post on LinkedIn (embedded at the bottom of this page), Diess noted the ID. Buzz saw an enthusiastic reception by the public and revealed that he also met with Texas governor Greg Abbott. In that context, he acknowledged the governor's merits in attracting Tesla to Austin and said the company's Gigafactory Texas will set new benchmarks in the industry.
"Elon's new factory - he calls it 'the machine that produces the machine' is impressive: 1.2 km long, 400m wide: all under one roof, no logistics from cell production to the final assembly. Once up and running it will very likely set some new benchmarks."
Based on this, the executive highlighted the importance of VW's decision to invest $2.2 billion into a new electric vehicle plant near its headquarters in Wolfsburg. Without this new facility, Diess reckons VW wouldn't be able to compete with Tesla, which is getting ready to open another plant near Berlin, Germany, later this month.
"I am so happy that we decided a new plant for Wolfsburg. Without that - no chance to compete."
Set to open in 2026, Volkswagen's new state-of-the-art facility will have an annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles. The first model to be built there will be the Project Trinity electric saloon.
Tesla is getting ready to start production at Gigafactory Texas, with the Model Y crossover being the company's first to roll off the assembly line powered by 4680-type cylindrical cells.
We can't help but wonder whether Herbert Diess visited Tesla's Austin factory during his stay in the Texas capital. There's no indication that he did, although we'd assume his buddy Elon Musk would have been glad to give him a tour of the facility had Diess asked him to.