Volkswagen blames customers for not buying electric cars

Volkswagen CEO, Matthias Müller

Volkswagen CEO, Matthias Müller said that he doesn’t understand why Germans think and act green in everyday life, but aren’t buying electric cars. He defined this behavior as a “paradoxical phenomenon”. According to him there isn’t a lack of supply but demand.


I really dislike when people pretend to be stupid when they clearly aren’t, just to look innocent.

Müller certainly knows that the main reason why people aren’t buying more electric cars is price. Volkswagen e-up and e-Golf are twice more expensive than their ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) counterparts, yet they don’t cost twice more to build, not even close.

Again, Volkswagen missed a good opportunity to remain silent.


The myth that electric cars are extremely expensive to build because of the battery cost is outdated. Not many people believe it when electric cars are less complex machines, that require less labor, specialized machinery, electricity and time in production lines than ICE cars.


It’s ironic that Volkswagen recently admitted that shifting to electric cars would mean less jobs and tried to make it look like a bad thing for the economy.

But Volkswagen wasn’t the only automaker to admit that electric cars are simpler to build than ICE cars.

Michael Brecht, member of the Daimler AG Supervisory Board, noted that building internal-combustion engines require roughly 10 times more workers than electric motors.


Here is the real paradox mister Müller, Volkswagen sells overpriced electric cars on purpose, to maintain sales low and keep selling polluting cars. All this while admitting that they are simpler to build and require less labor and machinery, yet Volkswagen complains that customers aren’t buying them.


I would have more respect for Müller if he admitted that he is a selfish old man that only cares about short-term profits since he won’t be here for much longer and doesn’t care about future generations. The myth that electric cars are expensive to build and automakers can’t do anything about it other than keep their prices high while selling polluting cars is really annoying.


What do you think about Müller’s statement?



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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5 years ago

I think they are just like every other legacy auto manufacture in regards to EVs…
The have 100 years invested in ICE tech and until the customers and or goverments demand more EVs the transation will be slower than we like…
China notwithstanding VW is only outsold in EVs by Tesla, Nissan, and BMW in sales volume and also by Renault if you look at kWhs…
In regards to EVs most other auto companies have proven to be worse by their actions or more like their complete inactions like Toyota, Honda, and FCA…

5 years ago

VW also signed an agreement with China’s JAC to make a joint venture EV only auto company in China…

Miguel Faria
5 years ago

100% agree with you…old man thinking in short time !!! If they wanted to promote ev’s then they should use the ice profit that is in the “cow” stage to promote tem, like every manufactory do to launch a new product!!!

Eduardo Francisco
5 years ago

My honest opinion is that they are selling EVs at the right price for them. They have made huge investments in ICE cars, and it is mandatory that those investments pay for themselves in the long run. The thing is, for every EV they sell, they sell one less ICE car. This means that the EV cars have to pay for the ICE cars, because EV massification wasn’t included in the business case of their recent ICE models.

And this isn’t bad at all… Selling cars is a business, and if they dont get their money back from the ICE investments, they risk their own existence. This things take time, we can´t just turn the switch.

EVs will eventually become cheaper as soon as they can create a business case to mass produce them (for example one million cars a year).

5 years ago

Cheap EVs are already there in the used car market:
C-Zero: 7000€
Renault Fluence: 9000€
Smart: 11000€
Zoe: 12000€
Leaf: 14000€
e-UP!: 17000€
e-golf: 20000€
BMW i3: 24000€ (no REX)
Tesla Roadster: 45000€
Tesla Model S85: 50000€ Imported from US – no SC, no Type 2
Tesla Model S60: 55000€ EU-model
Tesla Model S85: 65000€ EU-model

5 years ago
Reply to  lo

Not in my country, not even close. A used 2012 Leaf costs like 20 000€ here..

5 years ago

VW curently has the smallest profit margins in the auto industry so if greed is there game then they are failures as other auto companies operate up to 8 percent profit margin…
“Perhaps more importantly, the company wants to double its operating margin from less than two percent in 2015 to four percent by 2020”

5 years ago

LOL! You are so naïve it’s somewhere between cute and insane!

If we take you literally, you’d like the guy if only the following actually happened:

Mathias Muller: “I have a confession to make. I’m a selfish old man that only cares about short-term profits since I won’t be here for much longer and don’t care about future generations.”

VW like any corporation is trying to do whatever helps their bottom line in both the short and long term. The CEOs job isn’t to set the company’s direction or goals, but to find a way to execute the strategy and reach the goals set by the board. They in turn are required by law to serve the interest of the shareholders – NOT the interests of society at large. It’s the job of governments to look after the common interest.

I think it’d be much more relevant and useful to criticise the EU for its monumental failure to (a) enact the necessary regulations and (b) enforce the poor regulation that does exist. Read Transport & Environment’s “dieselgate-who-what-how” report if you haven’t, and ask yourself if you really ought to let your personal disdain for VW shape your blog posts to the extent that you’re doing.

I think VWs strategy of lobbying hard against EVs is a bad one that will fail to prevent the shift and ends up only hurting VWs image. But the proper address for that criticism is its board and shareholders, not its CEO. And the reasons are business reasons, not a lack of love for future generations.

It would be far more useful to focus on the regulator, who is actually supposed to look after us. The fact that most diesel cars in the EU emit six times or more the legal limit of NOx merits attention, and the reasons why this has happened even more so. And the company with by far the least dirty (a mere 180% of the legal limit) Euro6 diesels happens to be VW. Your irrational overreaction to Muller is based on little more than a misunderstanding of what his job actually is, and you are not helping anyone interested in clean air or energy efficiency with your ignoring the real reasons for the total mess we’re in in Europe.

Take it seriously. The subject deserves it, and so do your readers.

5 years ago
Reply to  Terawatt

Here’s the abstract, and if you scroll down a bit you will find the full report as a PDF. Please read it!

Johannes Himmelbeer
5 years ago

I really don’t think it’s the price per se. I don’t think my country is unique in this, but we have a load of people who get a company car. Taxation is really low for electric cars. It’s cheaper for me to have my company lease an Ioniq Electric Premium for me, than to lease an i30 (Elantra) (savings for me: 200 euros). There’s already a great electric infrastructure here because of previous fiscal stimulation of PHEVs (most clients I visit already have charging stations at their parking lot). The real issue is that the development of Electric never really had much focus by the other car companies. They build some token cars and that was it. Ranges around 80km, making it only feasible for a small part of the market (Inner city marketing and so on).

Along comes Tesla, builds a great vehicle (and not a small city car sized car), that looks damn sexy and gives it a battery range that makes it practical for all. They invested heavily in building charging coverage and were/are fully committed to EV’s. They’ve disrupted the traditional car making business. Half of the senior management in my previous company drove Tesla’s because A: it’s a great car, B: it makes you look cool, C: you pay less income tax over the value than over a standard VW Golf. The car makers have been sleeping and when/if Tesla can pull off a 35k car that has considerable range, they’re caught with their pants down.

4 years ago

With what VW got caught I would give them a free little advice,,,keep quiet.