Last week an interesting news popped up all over the auto sites: Mercedes was looking forward to a a close collaboration with BMW as equal partners. Mercedes-Benz CEO, Dieter Zetsche, had in plants a collaboration with BMW beyond an agreement to bundle purchasing of components. While we had our own concerns regarding such partnership and the equally diminishing of the two brands, there was no BMW official statement dissipating these rumors.
But in an interview with Auto News, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, BMW Chief Executive Officer, stepped up to tackle these rumors. He spoke of merging their financial services operations as a danger to both companies: “There are clear limits. The BMW brand, which one study has valued at $24 billion, must not be diluted or the brand identity damaged”.
In the end, BMW fears that no cost savings will be sufficient to make up for ruining the core of their brand and the long-run benefits will be less important. At the same time, Dr. Reihofer said that BMW will continue to maintain an open dialogue with Daimler in further cooperation and BMW is willing to strengthen their ties with the PSA engine partner, a French based company who has developed some engines for the MINI brand.
An important role of a deeper collaboration between BMW and Daimler lies in the hands of the Quandt family, the majority stakeholder in the BMW Group who so far has been reluctant to a possible merger.
Many BMW fans also fear that closer ties or even a merger with Daimler, might have a negative impact as it had on the U.S. based, Chrysler brand.