The German news media are speculating whether a handheld video of Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn inspecting Hyundai's new i30 is a well-planned form of viral marketing by the German carmaker.
The video, which shows Winterkorn, accompanied by several other VW executives, taking a close look at Hyundai's new Golf competitor and commenting on the generally high quality of the car's interior.
In one instance, Winterkorn is heard remarking to Golf designer Klaus Bischoff on the smooth adjustment of the Hyundai's steering wheel. "There's no clattering," he notes.He then asks Bischoff why the Korean competitor can accomplish this, while VW and BMW can't.
Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung speculates that the video, which was made in the immediate vicinity of Winterkorn during a tour of the Frankfurt auto show (IAA), was actually orchestrated by VW.
In such a scenario, it would send a message to VW workers that quality remains a top priority as the carmaker battles aggressive competitors such as Hyundai. The video also underlines Winterkorn's reputation as a hands-on engineer who takes a personal interest in assuring manufacturing excellent throughout the VW group.
Whatever the origin of the video, Hyundai is pleased to be singled out for its quality. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung cites a Hyundai Germany executive as saying: "It's an honor for us."