Geneva Motor Show: Mercedes still sees BMW as rivals despite tech co-operation

New Merc models include GLC crossover facelift and latest CLA Shooting Brake

Daimler AG and Mercedes Benz chairperson Dieter Zetsche: “Our industry is changing. And we do some things different today to underline that.”

Daimler AG and Mercedes Benz chairperson Dieter Zetsche: “Our industry is changing. And we do some things different today to underline that.”

 

It would have seemed anathema just a couple of years ago but the co-operation between Mercedes-Benz and long-time arch-rival BMW is a sign of the times. And a signal of the pressure the traditional brands are under to keep pace with the revolution that’s underway in the motoring world.

So is this the end of competition between the two brands? “Hell no,” says Daimler AG and Mercedes Benz chairperson Dieter Zetsche: “Our industry is changing. And we do some things different today to underline that.

“Less than two weeks ago we announced our joint venture with BMW in mobility services. We’re merging 14 mobility brands under one umbrella, ranging from car sharing to charging and parking. 60 million active customers around the world will benefit.

“Together, we have another big advantage. We have the software and the hardware to provide a premium travel experience. Unlike others, we can offer one convenient service out of one hand.”

Last Thursday the two German premium car giants announced they we will also develop next generation driver assistance features and future technology for autonomous driving together.

“Our common goal is to build a scalable system with the highest safety standards and an outstanding customer experience. Both parties agreed to later open this cooperation to other companies,” says Zetsche.

However, he reiterates that the two are still arch-rivals. “There are areas where we are stronger together. And there are many more areas where competition clearly makes the difference.”

New models

From the future to the present, and amongst the new models on display is the latest iteration of the all-electric Concept EQV, which provides a range of up to 400kms and will be unveiled as a full production ready model in autumn at the Frankfurt motor show.

Among the new production models on display is the facelifted GLC crossover SUV, boasting a minor redesign but also a technology update and the addition of the company’s latest engine range, particularly the impressive 2-litre diesel already offered in the C-Class and E-Class ranges.

Also on display is the new CLA Shooting Brake, derived from the recently launched new A-Class. Along with 10 litres more bootspace, the car also features the same dramatic improvement in interior fit and finish seen in the A-Class, and it also gets the latest evolution of Benz’s MBUX user interface, with the “Hey Mercedes” voice-activated command system.