Petite WSJ reporter tells off big bad VW flack

Herbert Diess, this morning in Tokyo

Herbert Diess, this morning in Tokyo

Yoko Kubota is a petite, unassuming, and immensely friendly Wall Street Journal reporter. She covers the car beat in Japan, and today, she covered herself with glory among her peers.

Yoko Kubota

Yoko Kubota

This morning at the Tokyo Motor Show, Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess really did not want to talk to reporters at VW’s alleged press conference. After delivering an uninspired speech, and apologies that did not come across as overly heartfelt and sincere, Diess was whisked off-stage by his handlers. At least that was the plan. Diess was waylaid by petite Yoko, who wanted to know how many managers have been fired so far at Volkswagen.

“We don’t answer that question, “ Diess’s handler barked. His arrogance was old style Volkswagen, but he was new in Tokyo, otherwise he would have known not to railroad a Yoko Kubota.

“Nobody asked you,” Kubota snapped. The handler went white.

Kubota directed the question again at Diess. He was about to answer, when the handler cut his boss off, and led him backstage.

The new culture of openness hasn’t reached VW’s PR department yet. Eventually, they will learn to be humble, and they will do it the hard way.