The BMW Group’s new CEO has called on the German firm’s staff to use a “positive spirit” to help narrow the sales gap to Mercedes-Benz.

According to Automotive News Europe, Oliver Zipse made the call in an internal email the day after Harald Krüger stepped down from his post.

"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,” Zipse wrote, according to the publication.

“Such a positive spirit will be reflected in our culture: the harder the job, the more innovative our solution.

"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," he wrote.

Zipse added the Munich-based firm was already catching its Stuttgart-based rival on the global sales front and would soon launch new models to narrow the gap further.

At the halfway point of 2019, BMW brand had registered 1 075 959 units, representing an increase of 1,6 percent, year on year. The Mercedes-Benz brand, meanwhile, reached 1 134 729 units over the same six-month period, shrinking by 4,6 percent.

The BMW Group (as opposed to brand), meanwhile, claimed it was still the “world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles” after the first half of the year. As a group (thus including the BMW brand, Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad), the Munich-based firm hit 1 252 837 units (up 0,8 percent), some 57 790 units ahead of Mercedes-Benz Cars (which includes the Mercedes brand as well as Smart), which ended the period on 1 195 047 units.