autoevolution

VW Should Learn How to Build Cars from Tesla and McLaren

Would I buy a Tesla? Err... no. How about a McLaren? Nope, there are plenty of Porsches I’d spend my money on before even thinking about owning a British supercar.
Technically, by doing that, I’d increase VW Group sales, helping the German company maintain its recently-gained title of the world’s no.1 automaker. On the mid-term, that would bring me a return on investment, as Porsche would only receive extra funding, being able to offer me a better replacement for my car.

But the VW Group doesn’t need my cash to build cars, that’s ridiculous. Instead, they could learn a thing or two from Tesla and McLaren. Sure, in the immensity of their brand portfolio, the Vee Dub people have a car for everybody, but what if they added yet another company?

A brand that would be built from the ground up, so it wouldn’t have to follow any traditions or technical superstitions. A company that, just like the recently (re)born Tesla and McLaren, would listen to its customers and provide regular updates.

The name is unimportant here. They might as well call it the “Noah’s Arc” and offer models such as “One”, “Two” and “Three”. After all, McLaren is doing a good job while selling supercars that have the least commercial names I’ve seen in a while. And that’s because, unlike established automakers, they don’t have to wait four years for the mid-cycle revamp in order to improve something.

And when they release an update, they have the courtesy of making it retrofittable, as they did with the 25 hp power premium for the MP4-12C (see what I meant about their ridiculous names?).

Tesla does this too. They noticed how the Model S wasn’t exactly stable in RWD form, but instead of coming up with a story about emotional driving, they whipped their engineers and came up with AWD models. Plenty of them.

Over-the-air updates? These are but a dream when it comes to German cars and I’m far from referring to just the VW Group here. I’ve lost count people who own premium German cars and are fed up with the excuses dealers make up to cover for the lack of a decent navigation update policy.

And if there was a new car company handling all these issues without necessarily offering extreme proposals such as McLarens and Teslas, I’d like to see it under VW ownership. These people are keeping so many capricious, exotic brands in the positive zone that nobody could deny they’d handle a fresh start just fine.

Heck, the problem isn’t even limited to German cars. It affects the entire auto industry. For instance, Tesla noticed some of its customers mistook the Model S for a drag racer. So did they threaten to void the warranty as Nissan initially did with the GT-R when learning about the huge tuning desire for their halo car?

No, instead of Nissan’s way, which only recently saw them admitting the tuning phenomenon and going with the flow, Tesla did the right thing - they introduced a hardware upgrade and therefore took the car from “Insane” to “Ludicrous”, making it even faster. Perhaps unnecessarily faster, but it’s all aimed at keeping their clientele satisfied.

The relationship to a customer should have something from the romance of the good old days, when your automobile used to be tailored to your needs. Sure, that’s impossible in the consumer era, but this hypothetical brand I’m talking about would make for just the right compromise.


This fresh start could help VW maintain their sales lead. Or maybe they’ll switch the plan and decide to pursue profitability instead. Either way, the move would only bring benefits. And believe me, they know how to prevent such a newcomer from cannibalizing their existing pearls.

I don't want to rant. A rant would be to say stuff like the Panamera being a lowered Cayenne, not of a four-door 911. Instead, I would genuinely enjoy seeing the VW business model applied to a company with far less corporate restraints than any of its current marques have.

And if such a story would ever become reality, I wouldn’t be the only one rejoicing. Aren’t you tired of asking certain questions when buying a car and receiving answers instead of a “thank you for helping us improve our products” letter? I know I am.

 
 
 
 
 

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