Not very many employees at Tesla have an active Twitter account, which could be related to the fact that only one person should or is allowed to speak for the company without a press department, namely CEO Elon Musk personally. With Hiromichi Mizuno, however, there is at least one board member at Tesla who is an exception in this regard – the Japanese has been part of the committee as an independent reinforcement since April 2020 and has so far not been stopped from tweeting. And so there was even a reaction from Tesla to the new appearance of the boss of the German competitor Volkswagen in the occasionally rampant social medium: Mizuno was downright impressed by Herbert Diess’ first tweet.
VW boss only follows internally on Twitter
The Volkswagen CEO, who is already following a conspicuous Tesla course with regard to electric cars, software and production, had announced his entry into Twitter at the end of 2020 and this week followed by deeds in the form of his first words. They came from himself, not from a PR team, as he confirmed when asked. Nevertheless, they seemed different from the model, probably calculated – a mixture of jovial tone, praise for successful electric cars from VW and Audi and a little provocation towards Tesla and thus the Musk following gathered on Twitter.
Nevertheless, it was much looser (and, because of the Twitter format, of necessity shorter) than what you could previously read from Diess on LinkedIn. The VW CEO quickly gathered a five-digit number of followers, and the reactions to his opening tweet were overall significantly more positive than what the BMW company account in the Musk Empire regularly gets to read. The other way around, Diess only followed 33 Twitter profiles until Friday evening, almost all of them from subsidiaries or employees of the company’s own group.
The Tesla board member Mizuno, in turn, has not followed the VW boss so far as his CEO Musk, but took note of the premiere. And he was very impressed by Diess’s first attempts at walking: “Boy. Is he really German ?? ”he asked under the first tweet, apparently impressed by the unfamiliar looseness.
Tesla board member receives an answer
Diess himself no longer reacted to this, unlike a retweet of his message by his colleague Joe Kaeser at Siemens, and his next post was noticeably more state-supportive (he criticized the Justice Department’s rejection of a German draft law on autonomous driving). But two other Twitter users shared the impression of the Tesla board member: Diess and Musk are not only good at duels with products, but also with words, one wrote. Another referred to the friendly-looking competition between the two with a video of a visit by the Tesla boss to VW with an ID.3 test drive.
And Mizuno’s probably more rhetorical question was answered: No, Diess is not German, but comes from Austria. The language spoken there is largely the same as in Germany, but the culture can be very different – as the VW boss will perhaps show more often on Twitter from now on.