New BMW Boss Rekindles the Rivalry, Politely Demands Employees Catch Up to Mercedes-Benz

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
new bmw boss rekindles the rivalry politely demands employees catch up to

Longtime luxury rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz may have signed onto an autonomous vehicle/ride-hailing partnership earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean the two companies go around holding hands. The competitive spirit is still there; AV development just carries a price tag neither company wants to pay in full.

For BMW as well as M-B, the lucrative core business of selling luxury vehicles to a well-heeled clientele remains top of mind, and Bimmer’s new boss isn’t happy that his Stuttgart rivals are running away with the sales crown.

Oliver Zipse took over as CEO on Friday, replacing Harald Krüger as chairman of the board of management after his predecessor’s unexpected decision not to seek another term at the helm. In Zipse’s first memo to BMW employees, the CEO whipped up the spirit of competition, urging the company to do everything in its power to give the boys at Benz what-for.

Five years spent trailing a rival is rough, though Zipse seems content to accept a leaner, more efficient, and more responsive company than one that generates extra volume by any means possible. But if an altered corporate culture achieves that goal, all the better.

“Instead of blaming the current situation, conditions, political landscape or particular individuals, a positive spirit will enable us to seize the opportunities available to us. Such a positive spirit will be reflected in our culture: the harder the job, the more innovative our solution,” Zipse wrote in a company-wide email obtained by Reuters.

“We don’t always have to be first, but we most certainly have to be far better than our competitors in everything that we do. This applies not only to our products and services, but also to our processes and structures, as well as our costs.”

As concerns mount about the cost not just of self-driving tech but also electric propulsion and the new platforms needed to underpin such vehicles, premium automakers are counting on sales of big-bucks traditional vehicles to cover the expense and fill coffers ahead of the next recession. In BMW’s case, the company hopes to find extra dollars from the likes of the new 8 Series and hulking crossovers like the X7.

Despite the challenges and storm clouds, there’s reason for optimism at BMW Group. Through July, global deliveries increased 0.9 percent, with last month showing a 1.3 percent year-over-year jump. The BMW brand itself rose 1.6 percent, year to date, fueled by growing demand for the X vehicles that now make up 49.5 percent of the brand’s global sales.

In contrast, the Mercedes-Benz brand recorded a 2.4 percent decrease through July, though last month saw a 12.7 percent year-over-year sales hike. At the end of July, deliveries of vehicles bearing the three-pointed star totalled 1,323,586 units, while those with propeller logos found 1,233,075 customers.

[Image: BMW Group]

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  • Lockstops Lockstops on Aug 17, 2019

    Who pumps in the best fake engine noise through the speakers wins? We all know that the auto manufacturers could easily get the EU bureaucrats to ease off on the crazy noise regulations etc. if they'd bother to. But no, instead they're going the easy route conforming to every single whim of the pencilneck bureaucrats and paying them to help fleece customers with worse and worse products, making themselves pathetic laughing stocks.

  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Aug 19, 2019

    It's true that BMW has lost its way. However, Lexus is not the answer. I wonder how many of the people on TTAC claiming that they lost interest in BMW around the time Lexus arrived have ever actually owned a BMW.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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