From the archives

Volkswagen in Bez-based fiasco

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Dr Bez surprises engineers by insisting that the anti-roll bar be a 'loose fit'
Dr Bez surprises engineers by insisting that the anti-roll bar be a ‘loose fit’

There were red faces at Volkswagen this week after another attempt to improve their consistently mediocre chassis tuning went hilariously wrong. Sources say VW bosses intended to hire respected ex-BMW and Porsche boffin Dr Ulrich Bez, now head of Aston Martin, to inject some much-needed spirit into their upcoming models. However, due to an amusing mix up the German giant actually ended up employing Bez, the dancing goon out of the Happy Mondays.

“We were a bit surprised when he turned up to a design parameters meeting for the next Passat wagon,” said one anonymous engineer. “Whilst we attempted to define the self levelling rear suspension requirements he insisted on freaky dancing around the studio shaking his maracas.”

Wolfsburg spies say worse was to come at a review session for the next generation Golf: “We attempted to show ‘Dr’ Bez the computer models for the new independent rear suspension,” explained our source, “but he just danced around the CAD/CAM units and claimed the design was ‘twisting his melon’. Now the workstation digital input pad has got sweat all over it.”

However, it’s not all bad news for collegues of the hollow cheeked groove monster: “He’s very generous with his little sweets,” noted one senior engineer, before adding, “I love this company. I love you. Do you want a swig of my water, friend?”

This is not the first time a large German car maker has suffered a music-related mix-up. Several years ago BMW’s attempts to lure Chris Bangle from Fiat were almost derailed after they inadvertently made a generous salary offer to 1980s all-girl pop foursome, The Bangles. “Yes, that was a close one,” agreed a company source. “But the deal was off when we discovered that they had a stupid habit of doing nothing from Tuesday through Friday and then had to finish all their projects in a mad rush at the start of the next week. And then had the audacity to complain about it via the medium of song. Mind you,” our Munich mole added, “perhaps they would have made a better job of the new 7-series.”


This story was originally published in April 2002