Watch Out Elon, Volkswagen’s CEO Just Joined Twitter

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is new to Twitter, but he made a splash with his very first tweet — going after master troll and Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Based on the number of cars sold, Volkswagen is the largest car maker in the world, but it’s only worth a small portion of Tesla based on market capitalization. Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is out to change that by taking to Twitter to hit up Tesla CEO Elon Musk on his own terms.

Diess thumbed his first tweet Wednesday, telling Musk that Volkswagen was out for Tesla’s [$TSLA] electric-vehicle market share. The responses came fast and furious for the Volkswagen CEO, who has gained about 10,000 Twitter [$TWTR] followers, while Musk has about 43 million followers. Twitter users bickered over market share and electric-vehicle capacity. One analyst on the Street, and renowned Tesla bear, Gordon Johnson raised questions directly to Diess.

It’s no secret posts on Twitter have moved Tesla stock in the past, like when Musk tweeted shares of his company were “too high.” That was when Tesla stock was floating around $140. Today, shares are trading at about $850.

Tesla is the biggest battery electric-vehicle maker on the planet and worth roughly $800 billion based on 950 million shares outstanding, or $1 trillion based on about 1.2 billion fully diluted shares outstanding. The fully diluted figure adds in the impact of management stock options and warrants.

Volkswagen has a market value of roughly one-tenth of Tesla. Althoug, it has the advantage in the sales department, shipping more than 9 million vehicles over the past year. 2020 was hard on most automakers. Volkswagen sent out a good 11 million cars in 2019. Tesla still managed to grow through the pandy, transporting about 500,000 vehicles in 2020, up from 368,000 in 2019.

Volkswagen is playing catch up in the electric-vehicle race. The company has the most aspirational goals for electric vehicles of any traditional automaker. Volkswagen claims its prepared to hand over about $85 billion over the next five years on vehicle electrification and digital technologies. Almost half of that spending will be on battery electric vehicles. By 2029, Volkswagen seeks to bring 75 fully electric models and 60 hybrid models to the market. The company plans to have 20% to 25% of total sales from battery electric vehicles by 2030.

Tesla stock was pretty uch stuck in the mud during Thursday trading, while the S&P 500 was effectively flat. Volkswagen shares increased 1.6% in overseas trading jumping 3.5% Wednesday. Many traditional automaker stocks were rallying too. In particular, General Motors [$GM] stock is up 16% over the past five days, and rival Ford [$F] stock is up 18%. Both American automakers have gotten a spark from outside capital flowing into their autonomous driving and electric vehicle investments.

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