Elon Musk offers advice to 200 Volkswagen execs on how the German EV maker can streamline its supply chain

Photos of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, left, and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. Brendan Smialowski and Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images
  • Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess invited Tesla CEO Elon Musk to address 200 top VW executives.
  • Musk joined the conference by video, dispensing advice on management and supply chains.
  • “Happy to hear that even our strongest competitor thinks that we will succeed,” Diess said.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk beamed into a meeting with top Volkswagen executives in Austria to explain how Tesla streamlines its supply chain.

“Good meeting with 200 top managers in Alpbach,” Volkswagen Chairman Herbert Diess said on Twitter on Saturday, sharing a photo of Musk on a video call. “Big responsibility at a crucial point for our company.”

Musk’s drop-in chat on Thursday was the latest friendly gesture between the two chief executives, following Diess’s trolling of Musk on Twitter earlier this year.

Whether Musk’s presence signaled anything more than pleasant comradery between the two makers of electric vehicles was left open-ended.

“[W]e will visit you soon in Grünheide,” Diess said, referring to the Tesla plant on the verge of opening in Germany.

On the conference call, Musk gave advice about a few topics, including his management style, Reuters reported, citing local newspaper Handelsblatt.

Because Musk is an engineer, he focuses on the supply chain and vehicle production, he reportedly said. Insider has reached out to Volkswagen and Tesla for additional information.

In a LinkedIn post, Diess said the conference brought together 200 of Volkswagen’s top executives to discuss how Volkswagen can be “as fast as possible.” Volkswagen’s Project Trinity will “revolutionize” the company, and compete with Tesla’s Grünheide factory, he said.

“Happy to hear that even our strongest competitor thinks that we will succeed the transition if we drive the transformation with full power,” Diess said.

He added: “One example for the speed of Tesla: They handle the chip shortage very well – the reason: they are developing their own software. Within just 2-3 weeks they had a new software.” This allowed for the use of different chips. “Impressive,” he added.