Open Mouth, Insert Jackboot: Daimler Insults Its Chinese Dealers

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
open mouth insert jackboot daimler insults its chinese dealers

Daimler’s new China chief Hubertus Troska committed a possibly deadly mistake. According to Germany’s Automobilwoche [sub], Troska and his lieutenant Nicholas Speeks “accuse their Chinese dealers of laziness and incompetence.”

In a letter to all Chinese dealers, Daimler said that “such a low sales volume could be achieved by a call center.” Rainer Gehmen, general manager of the German-Chinese Business Association, called the letter “a catastrophe, especially in China, where keeping face is more important than in Germany.”

Daimler loses market share in the strategically important Chinese market. Daimler lost 11.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 while BMW and Audi recorded strong gains. Letters like these will not improve the moral of the troops at the sales front.

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  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Apr 29, 2013

    Such lack of tact would not be tolerated in Brazil either. I know a few people who have worked for VW. Their greatest complaint is usually on how Germans treat others. Yeah, it's a German company and all and those who learn to play the game thrive, but a little sensitivity, on both parts, goes a long way.

    • See 3 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 29, 2013

      @carguy No, no. He's suggesting it's nurture, not nature.

  • Blowfish Blowfish on Apr 29, 2013

    the Great Helmsman Mao bought 7 or 7 of the real 600 back in the 70s. The ponton 219 we had, we were told it became an undocumented import into middle kingdom during the 60s. The gangster who operated swift boats to china, always have 1 or 2 560sel in the back of the boat. They shaped similar to the famous Cigarette with 6 or 8 out boards in the back, when the run they go so fast even the copters had a hard time to keep up with them. They were kind of the quarter mile of the sea race. These folks are kind of the Schumacher, Senna of the sea.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 29, 2013

    Well, if this costs Hubertus his job, he can always go work for Opel.

  • Daveainchina Daveainchina on Apr 30, 2013

    After reading these comments I have to wonder. Do you guys think he made this statement in a vacuum? I'm positive after being in China that he has good reasons for saying this. Not the least is that if they tried to make changes to improve things the Chinese just went about destroying any positive changes the German management brought. China is a difficult place and believe me when I tell you the Chinese are as arrogant and rude as any German. Are they all like that? of course not, but quite a few can be. Especially when they give the excuse that "this is China we cannot do it that way" without even trying or giving any real reason other than they don't want to change. ugh.. I could go on for days about this stuff.