"May I introduce Wolfgang Bernhard, who will just take the stage on foot today," VW Chief Executive Bernd Pischetsrieder said, referring to an entrance the dashing ex-Chrysler executive once made at the Detroit car show clad in a leather jacket and straddled atop a futuristic Dodge Tomahawk concept motorcycle.
Trying not to steal the show from his boss, the future head of the VW brand group made a brief speech pledging to do his "homework" but declined to give further details about his plans.
The VW brand group includes the VW, Bentley, Skoda and Bugatti marques. Volkswagen also owns the Audi brand group that comprises Audi, Seat and Lamborghini.
Bernhard, who was shoved out the door of DaimlerChrysler for his take-no-prisoners managerial style just days before taking over the steering wheel at the Mercedes Car Group, countered speculation that his brusque tactics would meet with resistance among VW staff.
"I feel great here at Volkswagen," he said, adding that he looked forward to working at "one of the best car brands in the world."
The 44-year-old newcomer, who managed only a trembling rasp during his speech, even went so far as to say that the hoarse voice was merely due to a cold and not because he had "lost his voice at Volkswagen," as some might have guessed.
Investors trust Bernhard to boost productivity and eliminate costs at the struggling carmaker, while taking little regard for the cosy, bureaucratic atmosphere at the former state-owned company.
On the day of the news in early October that VW had landed the ambitious turnaround specialist, shares in the carmaker shot up nearly 8 percent on hopes that this one manager could spell the solution to Volkswagen's slump.
Bernhard is due to take over responsibility for the VW brand group by next Jan. 1 at the latest.
Pischetsrieder, himself a VW outsider who came from BMW, made it clear that he had not hired the youthful manager just to win another ally who would not question his decisions.
"If he always shared my opinions then we wouldn't need him," Pischetsrieder joked on the sidelines of the event.