Industrial Trash Talk Between BMW and Mercedes

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Cooperation between automakers is a good way to cope with rising costs but, if we’re being honest, it’s much more exciting when they don’t get along. Think about some of your favorite automobiles. Odds are good that they have a counterpart from another manufacturer they’re supposed to be warring with — Mustang vs Camaro, WRX STI vs Lancer Evolution, Camry vs Accord, Gremlin vs Pinto.

The best rivalries are between manufacturers, as those provide ample opportunity for snide marketing. If we had our druthers, automakers would be forced to compete in biannual gladiator-style competitions that open with scored trash talk. But dreams rarely come true; automotive bloodsports probably require a few years of heavy planning, too.

Luckily, industrial-grade insults aren’t something we have to wait for. To our delight, Daimler AG and BMW Group were going at it on Halloween.

It started when BMW tagged Mercedes-Benz in a Twitter post that showed one of its sedans disguised as a Bimmer for the American holiday. “Now every car can dress up as its favorite superhero,” the Bavarian automaker teased.

Daimler fired back within minutes: “Nice one, @BMWUSA. That’s a really scary costume! Especially that radiator grille…”

With the two companies now partnered on a range of mobility projects, we imagine some punches had to be pulled. And yet this is the kind of marketing we’ve repeatedly said everyone wants — and the response to the putdowns support the claim. BMW’s initial insult garnered more attention (comments, retweets, likes) than anything the company has pushed to its Twitter page in months.

Granted, the exchange was little more than a clever way of saying “your brand stinks,” garnering the obligatory response of “no, your brand stinks.” But isn’t this the preamble to every professional wrestling match or governmental election? Besides, it’s fun, easy, and doesn’t require much in the way of critical thinking. You just side with whomever you already like, or had the best putdown, and move on with your day.

Now every car can dress up as its favorite superhero. @MercedesBenzUSA from

— BMW USA (@BMWUSA) October 31, 2019

[Image: BMW]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 5 comments
  • Garrett Garrett on Nov 01, 2019

    ...and then the Alfa Romeo Giulia said, “Do you want to see something really scary?” (hopefully not too obscure)

  • Sikiskengmailcom Sikiskengmailcom on Nov 20, 2019

    In terms of aesthetics the Mercedes design language looks garish and crude. Like a golden toilet seat. Incorrect use of negative space, lack of breathing room for focal elements, garish accents. BMW designs look organic, thought out and feature congruence. BMW (athlete in suit) design language is objectively more correct in terms of aesthetics. Merc simply says money can’t buy class.

  • Kat Laneaux I get the point that Musk is making. I wouldn't want everyone to know my secrets. If they did, they could or would shout it out to the world. But then, if Musk certified certain folks and had them sign Confidentiality agreements, which would allow them to work on cars that Musk had made, that could allow others to work on his cars and not confine vehicle owners to be charged an arm and a leg for the service. It's a catch 22. People are greedy little buggers. If they can find a way to make money, they will even if it wrong. People...sad.
  • 285exp I have been assured that EVs don’t require maintenance, so this seems pointless.
  • Slavuta "The fuel-economy numbers are solid, especially the 32 mpg on the highway"My v6 Highlander did 31 over 10 hour highway trip
  • Aja8888 As I type this, my 4 months old Equinox's Onstar module that controls the phone is broken. Yep, 4 months (never worked right from day one). Replacement will be a REFURBISHED unit since no new ones can be obtained (from China?). I really don't miss the phone via Bluetooth. And I have a great Garmin that I have used for years for trips which has free lifetime maps and traffic.
  • Bd2 There's a reason why talented American execs have been leaving Stellantis in droves.Tavares seems intent in following "Le Cost Cutter" Ghosn into driving his company into the dirt, whilst "justifying" his ever expanding compensation.