CEO Thinks VW Can Muscle Tesla Out of the EV Lead

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess was at Davos this week talking about his company’s future. Although Diess had some warnings about becoming Nokia a few weeks ago, this week he seems to be in a better mood.

Asked how he felt about Tesla’s stock valuation rising higher than VW’s, Diess told Bloomberg that he was still confident in VW’s future.

“It’s an open race,” Diess told Bloomberg TV. “We are quite optimistic that we still can keep the pace with Tesla and also at some stage probably overtake [them].”

As to why he’s so confident, Diess says he appreciates the threat presented by Tesla and other more traditional automakers but thinks what VW already has will help it in the future.

“I think the company which adapts fastest and is the most innovative but also which has enough scale in the new world will [win] the race.”

The comments seem to have started Volkswagen down the right path, though, as Volkswagen’s stock price rose as much as 1.7% after Diess made them.

Although Diess and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have shared kind words in the past, there is still a certain amount of competition between them. Comments like these aren’t rare (no doubt because they garner this kind of media attention), while Tesla the plan to build a factory in Berlin can be read as a shot across the bow of Germany’s carmakers.

In his interview with Bloomberg, Diess also commented on the results of a meeting Europe’s automakers had with President Trump. The CEO called it a positive one but added that it was difficult to read the president.

Regardless, Diess said that Volkswagen’s position in the US is of less concern to him than it is to some other German CEOs because of VW’s plants in Chattanooga and Mexico.