Someone at the Frankfurt Motor Show caught Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn investigating a Hyundai i30 as if he was just like one would expect from an intrigued engineer at a rival company. It might be too much to infer that the Herr Doctor is impressed by what he finds, but there is no doubt that he's got some questions that will need answering when he leaves.

At about 1:45, while sitting in the cabin, he adjusts the steering wheel and begins to query his seconds on what he discovers. As far as our native German speaking helper could tell, Winterkorn wants to know how Hyundai managed to make an adjustment mechanism that doesn't make any noise, going so far as to say, "How do they do it? BMW can't do it, we can't do it... no clanging!" And then one of the gentlemen appears to answer, "We had a solution but it was too expensive..."

Follow the jump for the video and our best attempt to transcribe what Winterkorn says. Feel free to fill in the blanks in the comments, and we believe this officially means everyone is watching Hyundai. Closely.



Winterkorn: "Bischoff, wo ist der Bischoff? {...} Da scheppert nichts! {...} Warum kann es der? BMW kann es nicht. Wir können es nicht... Kein Scheppern!"
Voice Off-camera: "Wir hatten ja mal eine Lösung gehabt, das war zu teuer {...}"

Translation
WINTERKORN: "Bischoff, where is Bischoff? {...} There is no clanging! Why can they do it? BMW can't do it, we can't do it... No clanging!"
Voice Off-camera: "We once had a solution, but it was too expansive then {...}"


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 192 Comments
      D-Fence
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let your resident German chime in: He fumbles at the steering wheel, gets pissed, calls the VW design chief: "BISCHOFF!!!!" The lever for the steering wheel release makes no sound while moving (Da klappert nix!!), BMW can't do it, they can't do it, then he starts with Chevron or, what I think, Chevrolet but aborts. Bischoff then says "we had a solution for this but it was too expensive" Winterkorn: "Why can he (car) do it?" (My guess: it has a little damper built in, that prevents it from going either too fast, rattling or snapping up again, this is why they slam it down multiple times) Then he says you cant see wipers no more from drivers seat (good thing) (Der machts wie wir, alles flach, siehste keine Wischer, astrein) They start measuring A-Pillar blind spot from drivers view. I think then they start talking about where the outlets for the air have to work, not sure, I think I heard "Norddeutschland" and "Matschiko" which should be Mexico. He then calls interior luxurious. I love how the guy at the end is sneakily testing if the hood lines up everywhere properly. I for one don't really see it as an insult to VW like some people, I think it is a) very relieving sight that a CEO goes to check out his oponents b) a CEO is so...down to earth, just human, who get's pissed and is just like you and me c) a nice proof that VW is a company, that knows how to stay alive/ahead in the dangerous waters of the car industry by always trying to 1-up the other car makers, and if they don't, they will make sure it won't happen again. Trust me, the Golf 7 will have a "soft" lever for the steering wheel. I remember Winterkorn saying in the ATZ magazine half a year ago "From all the Asian companies, Hyundai is the one that will give us headache." But then again, this video basically shows why some companies suceed and some fail. A company like VW could easily fall into an arrogance mode "We are world leaders everyone has to measure up to us" and just don't give a **** about Hyundai and then suddenly get overtaken and fall behind because they never cared for moving ahead to stay ahead (Hello, GM!). The fact that the bosses of VW are measuring the blind spots of a Hyundai BEFORE it hits the market says a lot about their attitude: "Know what is coming for you and try to beat them with your new model", because right now Hyundai is "following" VW's lead, if VW lets their guard down Hyundai will pull level....and pass them.
        xor.be
        • 3 Years Ago
        @D-Fence
        Thx for the translation :)
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @D-Fence
        thanks for the detailed analysis and i think you are pretty right with all of your points.
        D-Fence
        • 3 Years Ago
        @D-Fence
        And I forgot to mention: The new i30 was developed in Ruesselsheim, Germany, for the European market.
      ftpaddict
      • 3 Years Ago
      The very same lever on my 2005 Ford Mondeo is completely silent as well.
      JayH
      • 3 Years Ago
      just checked my mercury and it makes no noise :/ other than the flap that hides the stuff making a "clap" noise once it's fully extended... but I always felt like my car was well made anyway even if some people don't like fords...
      jj72
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great video......needs to be more like this showing execs from car companies checking out the competition. This is just one and very interesting responses none the less. Seriously, better built competition makes better cars for everyone.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 3 Years Ago
      Some columns engage solid detents, some are friction based and are in essence infinitely adjustable. Since both of my sub-$20k cars have the latter, I can only imagine he isn't talking about that. Maybe he means it takes force to lower the wheel, unlike most cars where once you release the holding mechanism the wheel just crashes down.
      vedi123
      • 3 Years Ago
      Winterkorn is a great guy. He knows VW will be number 1 someday but he has the guts to appreciate what other carmakers are doing!
      JayH
      • 3 Years Ago
      i'll have to check what noise my mercury makes (or not) tomorrow and post here hehe i haven't adjusted the steering column since i bought the car 2 years ago ^_^
      stanluca
      • 3 Years Ago
      It really depends on how you look at it. I love what Hyundai has done with their cars over the last few years and have never been a fan of VW (Made in Mexico, no thanks). But after viewing this video, I was kinda impressed that he was so interested in the engineering of a competitor's vehicle.
      Doug
      • 3 Years Ago
      Achtung!
      to your email L
      • 3 Years Ago
      Same reason why windows in Europe don't have screens on them.
      stickshiftn6901
      • 3 Years Ago
      volkswagen and BMW cant make a car without a bajillion electrical problems
      carguy
      • 3 Years Ago
      LOL, look at the face of this CEO during the video.. I think VW as a group should design their cars in Germany but start to build them in Korea.. that would give them the price advadtage of Hyundai and Kia has..
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