That there’s bad blood between Mercedes-Benz and BMW doesn’t surprise anyone. The fierce competition between the two brands may have stemmed from the fact that they both have German roots, and have been in the automotive industry for a very long time. Nevertheless, it’s quite unusual for either automaker to bash the other in public.
During the Frankfurt Motor Show, Motoring witnessed Hendrik von Kunheim, BMW Senior Vice President for Asia and South Africa, criticize Mercedes’ new X-Class pickup calling it “appalling”, while being interviewed by the Australian media.
Furthermore, von Kunheim said that he was very disappointed when he saw the pickup at Geneva a couple of months ago, adding that “they can do better”. Though he did say that Mercedes-Benz builds fantastic cars, he said that this particular one was a “disappointment.”
We do not know if the BMW’s criticism towards the Mercedes-Benz X-Class came from a perceived frustration from the release of the X7 full-size SUV concept at Frankfurt. The concept had received a number of negative feedback from media and even BMW fans, citing its chiseled but bulky shape and the massive kidney grille that was just too much. What’s more is that a Bimmerpost forum user insinuated that the BMS SUV’s design may have been sabotaged by a member inside its own team and that this someone had come from Mercedes.
Here is the thing, when Hendrik criticized the X-Class, he was not actually referring to the design of the car, but the quality of it instead - meaning the parts that were used to build it. The X-Class actually takes inspiration from the United States’ Nissan Frontier, which some of us know as the Nissan Navara. Apparently, von Kuhheim heard media outlets saying that the pickup is cheap and plasticky, and isn’t something you would expect to get from Mercedes.
After he had said that about its rival’s pickup, von Kunheim said that they are looking into building a BMW pickup for the European and the Asian markets that will be in the same segment as the X-Class. A BMW pickup will highly likely be based on the company’s current sports utility vehicles. He also said that it will be given a more luxurious design compared to its Mercedes rival. This X-Class will come with several trims customers could choose from.
Did you think it was necessary or prudent for von Kunheim to criticize Mercedes’ X-Class in front of the public? Or do you think this is a way for him to hint that their future pickup model will be much better than their competition? So far, we have not heard anything from Mercedes-Benz in response to the comments.