Volkswagen CEO Slams Tesla Over Production Numbers, Spending, and Firings – Fortune

Posted: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

“Social responsibility? Please.”

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller slammed Tesla last week for its recent string of problems including slower than expected car production, employee firings, and big spending.

Müller was responding to a comment from a moderator at a conference in Passau, Germany about how Tesla “fascinates customers with its electric cars,” according to the website the Daily Kanban. He replied by attacking Tesla.

Here’s a translation from the Daily Kanban:

“Now I really need to say a few words about Tesla: With all 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.”

Recently, Tesla has hit a rough patch including allegations of discrimination, mass firings, and “production hell” with the Model 3.

On Tuesday, Business Insider reported that David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital hedge fund sent a letter to its investors, saying, “Tesla (TSLA) had an awful quarter both in its current results and future prospects. In response, its shares fell almost 6%. We believe it deserved much worse.” In August, Einhorn worried that Tesla could run out of cash while making the Model 3—its more affordable mass market vehicle—for which production has fallen behind.

However, Müller’s comments are risky. Volkswagen has had its own share of scandals, including the uncovering of diesel emissions fraud (or “dieselgate”) in 2015, and the subsequent financial hit, investigations and arrests of those allegedly involved.

Müller is also pushing Volkswagen towards its own ambitions electric vehicle program.

Fortune contacted Tesla for a response and will update as necessary.

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