Bret Scott – Product Manager

Bret Scott - Product Manager

Name: Bret Scott
Place of Birth: Pontiac, MI


Product Manager for Trucks and Midsize Cars at VW of America in Auburn Hills, MI. Prior to that I was a research director at VW’s Electronics Research Lab in Palo Alto, CA. I started my career as a co-op student at GM, and worked there for 20 years. Both my electical engineering and business degrees are from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI.


VW of America

Year, Make and Model of your first car/truck:

1973 Chevrolet Malibu, with 8-track player, interior disco lighting, plywood driver-side floor boards and an old slant-6 engine taken out of a Plymouth. Designed in an era when safety was more a matter of size than substance, I somehow survived this ownership. I learned to drive in a 1978 VW Scirocco, which was (and are still) a total blast.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’m a 3rd-generation car nut, as both my father and my mother’s father owned auto repair shops, so I’d always imagined myself following in their footsteps. In retirement (will I have grown up by then?) I’d like to own a restoration shop. Other things I considered in my younger years were: School Bus Driver, one of the “Wonder Twins,” computer geek.

How long have you worked in the auto industry?

Since 1983

What do you drive now?

I switch cars at work fairly regularly, and my current car is a 2007 Touareg V6. I also own a few old cars, including a 1957 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe, 1967 Mercedes 230SL, and a 1968 Cadillac Eldorado.

Are you out at work?

Yes, and we’re in the process of starting an employee group at VW of America.

Was being gay ever an issue at any of your jobs?

Yes, for both positive and negative reasons.

If so, how did you deal with it?

On a positive note, most of the car companies are beginning to use their LGBT employees as a resource, and so it’s nice to be able to contribute my knowledge towards this effort.

If you had one piece of advice to give to a gay person wanting to work in the auto industry, what would it be?

As a whole, the automotive industry has made great strides in becoming more inclusive towards the LGBT community. Even so, some companies have progressed more than others, and research is necessary on each company to see if it may meet your needs. Don’t stop at the published policy… understand whether their behavior is aligned to it, not only in your locale but throughout. As an example, VW is a multinational company that does not share similar benefits towards same-sex partners across its geographical regions, which might limit your opporunity for promotion if you choose to stay where the benefits are favorable.

Ok, here is the fun part; if you had $25,000 and had to buy a new car, what would it be and why?

This is fun and difficult. While there are some good cars that fall under this price point, it’s easy to slip above it when choosing a level of equipment that moves it from just a spoonful of fun to something more filling. For instance, I really like the Saturn Sky, whose mix of performance and aesthetics is very attractive to me. Its base price is about $25,000, but shoots over $29,000 with the nice motor and a few other do-dads. For this reason I’ll go off the beaten path and choose perhaps the best 2-wheeled car on the market… the BMW R1200 RT. Okay I’m cheating a bit, but with options like cruise control, heated seats, stability control, tire pressure monitoring and so on, it’s becoming hard to tell the difference between cars and motorcycles. Plus, BMW is legendary for making bikes that are indifferent about the climate.

Same question but bigger budget – $50,000:

I’ll bend the rules again and mention 2 of my favorites, one of which might be described by Shirley McClain as being between lives, and a second that isn’t a car.
The passing generation of Audi Allroad is a fantastic car, with either the smaller turbocharged V6, or with the silkiest V8 on the market. It contains the right mix of elegance, ruggedness, agility, performance, and usefullness to raise just about anyone’s happy quotient. True, the numbers of competing vehicles in the 50-large group have grown substantially, but how many of them have as much personality as the Allroad, and how many will age as well? Having seen the new one in Germany, I’m not sure that it’s formula will elicit the same appeal that it’s predecessor has for me, but time will tell.
The second one is the new series of Chevrolet pick-up trucks. I recently sold my 2001 GMC Sierra C3, which was in its time perhaps the best pick-up available on the market. As gratifying as it was, it was made crude and archiac by the new offering. And if the show properties at the Detroit Auto show were any indication, the level of fit and finish on the new Silverado trounces that of the new Toyota offering.

If money was no object and you had to drive it every day:

Shall I tow the company line, or choose a real all-purpose super car? I’ll try for both in selecting the Bentley Continential GT. Admittedly I’m torn between the Aston Martins and the Bentley, but I think the GT makes the better “every day” choice. Perhaps not surprisingly, most Bentley owners don’t worry about having only one car to choose from everyday

What is your favorite car of all time and why?

There are 2: the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, and the 1937 Packard 120 Convertible.
What do you build when you’re a car company that can build literally anything? You create a car that shows your pecking order, and damn the bean counters. The Brougham is precicely that car, beautifully hand-wrought, with levels of finish and accoutrement that nearly bely its automotive nature. This was a $13,000 car at a time when the average new home cost $12,200. In any decade, you know you have arrived when you do so in a Brougham.
The Packard is, simply put, eye candy on wheels. I’ve never driven one, but I don’t think my driving impression would change my overall attraction to it. While there are several cars that share a somewhat similar shape, the formal grille work and attention to detail in the Packards really make them stand out. If you have not taken the opportunity to check out a Packard owner event, I recommend doing so.

If your car/truck could talk, what would it say about you?

“I worried when I heard he was a geek, but he knows how to let his hair down with the cars.”

Finally, why do you want to be on

I think there’s value in letting the world know that the automotive industry is not one dimensional, and neither are the people that contribute to it.