Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller was at a forum for "international understanding" Thursday night when the panel moderator mentioned Tesla and its object of fascination status among consumers. At this, Müller's response wasn't exactly positive.
Translated by the Daily Kanban, the VW chief proceeded to roast Elon Musk's electric car company quoting Tesla's relatively paltry sales figures and its allegedly irresponsible handling of finances and employees.
"Now I really need to say a few words about Tesla: With all due respect, there are some world champions of big announcements in this world—I don’t want to name names. There are companies that barely sell 80,000 cars a year. Then there are companies like Volkswagen that sell 11 million cars this year, and produce a profit of 13 or 14 billion euro. If I am correctly informed, Tesla each quarter destroys millions of dollars in the three digits, and it willy-nilly fires its workers. Social responsibility? Please. We should not get carried away and compare apples with oranges."
The German exec's words are the latest in a string of recent negative publicity for the Palo Alto electric vehicle maker. Between the aforementioned "willy-nilly firings," allegations of a hostile work environment from African American former employees, another Model X recall, and drama surrounding less-than-stellar Model 3 reliability predictions from Consumer Reports, it's been a rough week for Tesla's PR team.
Now, about that Musk vs. Müller boxing match...