The automatic association we make between BMW and Mercedes-Benz is that if strong rivalry, but increasing competition is making future collaborations between the two marques more likely.
The luxury car market is a highly competitive and lucrative segment at present and, although both Mercedes-Benz and BMW sell more than one million units annually, there is evidence that mounting competition may result in the two marques collaborating more closely in future.
In an interview in Germany’s , BMW sales and marketing chief, Michael Ganal, made it apparent that the Munich firm is hoping to work closer with Mercedes-Benz in future.
Having all but severed its ties from a unfruitful relationship with Chrysler, Mercedes will be very cautious about future collaborations and acquisitions. Indeed, at the end of last month Daimler CEO, Dieter Zetsche was quoted in an article in as saying, “there are no acquisition targets I can recognize that could strengthen Mercedes.”
Similarly, Ganal put pay to rumours that BMW was in any talks with Volvo or had an interest in acquiring any other brands.
This “go it alone” stance may not, however, be the correct stance to take in the face of increasing competition in the luxury car sector from another German marque.
Audi has recently shown immense growth, with the planned addition of 22 new models to its range over the next couple of years. The reason for this rapid expansion is the Ingolstad firm’s ability to call upon the vast pool of parts and engineering resources that are the Volkswagen Automotive Group and Porsche without incurring massive costs.
Ganal claims that it would make sense for the two companies to work together given the similarities that exist between them. For instance, both firms are premium carmakers with a great deal of capital invested in advanced technologies such as hybrid powerplants. The ideal situation, according to Ganal, would be a collaboration between the two marques that enables them to utilise the best technology and knowledge while still allowing them to retain their independence
When questioned about what developments the two firms could undertake together, Ganal mentioned that there are several possibilities being considered, but did not give any further details.