Automotive News Europe's Georg Auer spoke with Viktor Klima, the former Austrian chancellor who will take over as head of Volkswagen Argentina in October.
How will you prepare for your new job?
In the next few weeks I will have a good look at several of the VW group's European plants so I am well prepared for my arrival in Argentina in October. It's going to be a fascinating challenge, as I am - I think - the first former prime minister to go into the motor industry.
It's a little bit crazy perhaps, but VW is a big industrial corporation and that is what I wanted to work for. Otherwise I might have set up a 'new economy' business of my own. The science of computers was actually the subject of my masters degree at Vienna Technical University.
What makes you so sure you will be good at your new job?
Well, I am good at analyzing and economic development and seeing changes through. I had to do a lot of that with OMV, the oil company, where I started in the department for analysis and operational research. That will come in handy in my new position where I have to build a new separate country organization.
Aren't you taking away something from fellow Austrian Herbert Demel, who until now had responsibility for VW in both Brazil and Argentina?
The people in Argentina are a very proud people. The VW people in Argentina did not really cherish the idea of being a sub-organization of VW Brazil. And they tell me the medium-level management there is very proud because they're not only getting a president of their own, they're also getting a former prime minister and one-time president of the European Union.
By the way, that was the most fascinating position I ever held. Nobody can sport such a president.
How is your Spanish?
I speak a little and I am taking a crash course. My son's wife will be coaching me. She is Spanish.
What ties have you to the motor industry?
I love cars and driving. My first car was a Fiat 1100 RL. I bought it second-hand from my father when I left school. I had an Alfa Romeo GTV, a VW Beetle, a Citroen Dyane and GS, a Renault R14.
I drove BMWs when I was working in the oil industry and when I became minister of transport. In that position, I had a lot of dealings with car people - also when I became minister of finance.
As prime minister I had a Mercedes and now I have an Audi 8 4.2 quattro.
But I like horse riding too - since I lost weight. Before that my wife Sonja, who is a fierce defender of animal rights, didn't like the idea of me weighing down on a horse. After all, I am about six feet tall and rather athletic in build.
But, of course, the horse will have to stay in Austria on our small farm that we own near the Hungarian border.
Our two dogs, one a real giant, will come with us.
How do you view VW's future in Argentina?
Argentina is in a very difficult situation. We have the new transmission plant in Cordoba and the Pacheco plant for the Polo and Gol. The Gol has a great future in developing economies. But exports are difficult because the Argentinean peso is fixed to the strong US dollar.
What are you most proud of during your time as chancellor?
Arranging a special summit meeting in Poertschach, on the Woerther Lake in Austria, for laying down the future direction of the European Union.