Perhaps the best thing in the December Automobile is a Q&A with Bobby Hitt, the PR face of BMW’s plant in Greer, South Carolina, between Greenville and Spartanburg along the I-85 corridor. You might think that there might be a mismatch between your languid Southerners and your clipped, efficient Germans, and Hitt will tell you that you just might be right about that:
The first time I worked with a German colleague, he said to me, “We should have a plan.” So I wrote a plan and brought it back. He looked at me and said, “This is not a plan.” We Americans think differently. The Germans plan more, pay more attention to detail. They consider every eventuality. We Americans like to plan for practically none of them and go running down the road.
Needless to say, this couldn’t go on, and it didn’t:
The cultures started to merge. We got more cautious and detail-oriented; they got a little of our cowboyism. I’m told by some of our German colleagues that it’s a trait they have to lose when they go back home, but they enjoy it while they’re here.
“Jippie-ki-jay, Mutter Farber!” [Not even slightly literal, so don’t write in.] Or something like that. Volkswagen has been here once before, but in Pennsylvania; it will be interesting to see how they fare in Chattanooga.