inside
The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Company

Herbert Diess as a Driver

inside spoke with the Volkswagen CEO about learning to drive, radar monitoring and his love of sports cars.

A sporty driver: naturally, Group CEO Herbert Diess also likes sports cars.
Here, he’s traveling in an up! GTI1.

When it comes to steering Volkswagen toward a successful future, Group CEO Herbert Diess (60) is definitely speeding along. But in his personal life, what kind of driver is the Group’s chief? inside met with Diess bright and early at the brand tower and asked him all sorts of questions about driving:

"I like compact, sporty cars. My favorite is the Golf GTI2."

Mr. Diess, do you still remember 
your first car?
Of course! It was a Fiat 500, but not long after that I was driving a Beetle 1200. It was a 1966 model and still had the oval tail lights. Later, I also had a Mini Cooper.

Herbert Diess at the wheel: He usually uses his drive time to make phone calls.

Were you a good driving student?
Well, I did need just the minimum number of driving lessons. It was probably because I had already been driving a tractor since the age of eight. I also practiced a bit at a very young age on private property, in an unregistered DKW.

Do you also have motorcycle and commercial licenses?
Yes, I have both. And I still really enjoy riding motorcycles. The Ducati Monster, for example, is a great bike. On the other hand, it’s been a long time since I last drove a truck. During my student years, I had a part-time job delivering bread in a 7.5-ton truck. After that, I even had the opportunity to drive large trucks on a number of occasions.

And what kind of car do you drive on weekends?
I like compact, sporty cars. My favorite is the Golf GTI. But I also like to drive a sports car once in a while.

So would you consider yourself a sporty driver?
I guess that’s what I am. I like to drive fast, but not recklessly.

Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?
That’s probably happened to all of us at one time or another. And yes, it has happened to me, and yes, I was annoyed at myself when it did. Because I’m a rule-follower. My father, you see, had the odd talent of getting caught pretty much every other time there was a radar speed check. I’m not like that at all.

"For me, electromobility is not just the future, it’s a reality. Whenever I can, I use my e-Golf3."

We talked about driving fast; what about the other extreme? 
How does Herbert Diess feel when he’s stuck in a traffic jam?
I feel irritated just like everyone else, but I don’t swear. In my view, traffic jams are among the first things we should use new technology to help prevent. Increasingly, automated driving will help us with that.

A passionate motorcyclist: for the photo, Herbert Diess took a seat on a Ducati.

Do you listen to the radio in the car?
Not very often. If the radio is on, it’s usually the NDR 2 station. I use most of my drive time for phone calls.

Do you drive a lot?
That all depends how you define it. I 
log between 20,000 and 30,000 kilometers per year.

And what do you prefer - stick shift or DSG dual-clutch transmission?
I still like stick shift sometimes, 
but the DSG system is very easy to use, and I wouldn’t want to give it up.

Do you parallel park on your own or do you use the parking assistant?
I usually parallel park on my own, but I’m glad the electronic assistant exists. I appreciate vehicle assistance systems. On the freeway, for example, I like to use the ACC automatic distance regulator and the “lane assist” feature.

Finally, a question about electromobility: aAre you already in the habit of driving e-vehicles?
For me, electromobility is not just the future, it’s a reality. Whenever I can, I use my e-Golf². It meets my needs and accelerates very well yet is quiet. And by the way, I personally do not believe in the end of individual transportation. People will continue to be fascinated by driving. And to that end, we at Volkswagen will continue to produce the world’s best vehicles.