The world got treated to some old-school car business back at the Frankfurt show when VW CEO Martin Winterkorn inspected the competition at the Hyundai stand. He was not pleased.
Life got a lot more difficult for Winterkorn's underlings when their boss started to adjust the steering wheel of the i30 on display. "There's no rattle!" In some fairly colloquial German, Winterkorn put his whole staff on notice. He calls first one man by name, Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Brand Design and gives his blunt analysis. Glancing around he asks, "How'd he pull it off?" Bischoff is in some disbelief, and one of the VW suits around quickly comes to explain, sounding fairly rattled himself. There was a solution, he says, but it was too expensive. Witnerkorn wasn't having any of it. "Why can he do it? BMW doesn't know how, we don't know how. Rattling!"
Winterkorn beckoned for more underlings, immediately summoning a tape measure to check the sight lines around the Hyundai's a-pillars. When the employee next to him is having some trouble, Winterkorn, the head of what may soon be the biggest car company in the world, takes the tape measure himself, does his measurements, and gruffly compliments the Hyundai's interior. The nervous VW people around him could only offer excuses, trying to keep their boss happy, but Winterkorn remained stoic as ever. He stepped out of the car, looking deep in thought and his entourage quickly filed in, looking all the more agitated themselves after the episode.
Aside from how incredibly German it is that Winterkorn takes charge with a nearby tape measure, this is just one of those great looks into the hard as nails upper strata of the auto industry. I now imagine that meetings at the VW boardroom look suspiciously like the scenes where Darth Vader chokes that guy in the Death Star. What really wouldn't surprise us is if Hyundai themselves were the ones who shot and uploaded this video, just don't expect them to admit it.
Video Credit: The Truth About Cars