Volkswagen of America has spent decades under the watchful gaze of its German parent in Wolfsburg, like a teenager anxious to be treated as an adult: always dependent, always being told what was best, almost always misunderstood.
No wonder there's been some angst.
But in a major milestone this month, and as a concrete sign of growing trust, VW of America was handed the equivalent of the keys to the family car.
Not only was VW's North American arm granted greater autonomy over what products to produce in the region and how to do so, but it was given resources to carry out those decisions in the form of $7.1 billion in investments over the next five years.
And those announcements came just days after top VW Group leadership in Germany turned to North America and China to shoulder more production and sales while Europe struggles through the immediate effects of the Russia-Ukraine war.
"It allows us to be faster," explained Scott Keogh, now into his fourth year as CEO of Volkswagen of America. "I think that's a lot about what the $7.1 billion [investment] is about. It will also allow us to make the decisions that are right for the market."