GENEVA (March 2, 2016) — Volkswagen A.G. press conferences at the upcoming New York auto show will probably be a little more closely guarded by security after the surprise stunt pulled March 1 in Geneva at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show.
A protester, uh, make that “expert troll” dressed in VW coveralls arrived to install a new “cheat box” in the VW e-Up! electric hatchback.
“Excuse me, I have the new cheat box,” the expert troll said as he walked up on stage during the car's introduction by VW board member Juergen Stackmann. The guy then proceeded to install a mock defeat device, noting: “No one's going to find out about this one!”
Mr. Stackmann gets bonus points for not losing his cool or rushing offstage, even managing a comeback.
“It doesn't need a repair, it's a perfect car,” he said in response to the protester.
It is electric, so Mr. Stackmann does have a point.
“Mr. Mueller said it's OK as long as no one finds out,” the impostor mechanic replied, referring to VW CEO Matthias Mueller. “Just keep it quiet this time and it will be OK.”
The Telegraph said the expert troll may have been comedian Simon Brodkin — famous on the Internets for showering FIFA's [Fédération Internationale de Football Association] former president Sepp Blatter with bank notes during a press conference — who was probably doing this more for his own publicity than as an actual protest. The Daily Mail concurred that Mr. Brodkin was the merry prankster.
The only thing we don't get is why he picked an electric car for the stunt; VW had diesels in Geneva as well.
This report appeared on the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.