The automotive rivalry between BMW and Daimler stretches back decades, having vied for the affections of affluent car buyers. Yet, both German automakers have proven to be good sports over the years. Case in point: BMW released a tribute to Mercedes Benz’s outgoing CEO Dieter Zetsche —in jest, of course — and suggested he used that new found freedom to try new things.
Like an eye-catching BMW i8 roadster.
In a clip distributed on BMW AG’s Twitter feed, a camera follows a Dr Z lookalike – complete with his signature walrus moustache and rimless glasses – exiting the lobby of Daimler headquarters, thanking employees and handing in his ID to the front desk to signal that his work is finally done. Getting into a black S Class, he is driven home and dropped off in this driveway. After one final handshake with his driver, Zetsche waves goodbye as the Mercedes pulls away…
… Only to reveal a striking metallic-orange BMW i8 Roadster roaring out from the garage and into the driveway with Zetsche behind the wheel. A cheeky caption ‘Free at Last’ teases at the bottom of the frame, before the clip fades out with a note of gratitude, saying “Thank you, Dieter Zetsche, for so many years of inspiring competition”, followed by the BMW emblem and the carmaker’s slogan: 'Sheer Driving Pleasure'.
BMW has even put together a To-Do list for Zetsche, now that he has the "enviable position of having petrol in his veins" and "loads of leisure time". Mercedes-Benz couldn’t exactly let this slide so it came up with a mischievous response of its own — not without slipping in a bit of marketing to showcase the company’s new electric EQ sub-brand that’s meant to rival BMW’s i models.
The light-hearted display of humour showed how the fiercest rivals in the automotive industry have embraced a cooperative manner of late, where both agreed to merge their car-sharing businesses to compete better with Silicon Valley companies.
This isn’t the first time Mercedes-Benz and BMW have poked fun at each other. When BMW celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, Mercedes-Benz — which was founded in 1886 — invited all BMW AG employees to visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum so they could see the “the complete history of the automobile”.
Competition brings out the best in one another and we can’t wait to see what these two auto-giants are up to next — even in a tongue-in-cheek banter.