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Volkswagen C.E.O. Herbert Diess Sets Sights on Beating Tesla


WOLFSBURG, Germany — In July, when Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s chief executive, wanted to congratulate the company for a strong first half of the year, he posted a video of himself zipping across a waterway at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg on an electric hydrofoil, delivering a message of thanks to VW’s roughly 200,000 workers.“I look forward to seeing you again after the vacation,” he said, cutting lazy doughnuts in the water, “and continue working together on the success of VW.”At a time when Volkswagen is still trying to regain trust lost in the emissions scandal of 2015 and fend off the growing threat of Tesla, the message was clear: This was not a 62-year-old engineer atop a hidebound business founded in the 1930s, but a dynamic mover and a shaker, ready to lead a revived company into a prosperous future.Since then, it’s been a bumpy …

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