Detroit: Diesel gate seems forgotten, Mercedes-Benz is number 1, BMW remains pale

Who would have thought that after the Diesel Gate and 23 billion fine, the Volkswagen brand would be so successful on the US market? Mercedes-Benz signals in Detroit that it is No. 1 among the premium brands. BMW also calls itself number 1, but remains pale. Ex-BMW board members criticize the lack of a brand profile and colorless press work.

VW brand boss Diess bristled with self-confidence. The fact that the Wolfsburg-based brand was able to grow by 2017 percent in the US market, which had subsided by almost two percent in 5,2, actually proves that the Americans either forgave or forgot the diesel fraud. The two new launches for the US market (Jetta and Passat GT) are just right. Volkswagen is back. Incidentally, Volkswagen also grew worldwide in 2017: um

Dieter Zetsche and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the evening before the Detroit fair

German customers have to cry when they hear that Volkswagen now grants a six-year warranty (limited to 72.000 miles / 115000 km) in the United States. VW also wants to score among the volume manufacturers in order to be successful in the competition among volume manufacturers. If you ask American customers who drive VW, they are so surprised that some know nothing of a diesel scandal and praise their Volkswagen for the green clover. The brand perception is completely different in relation to the diesel process. However, there are also VW owners who are happy to have returned their diesel at a good price. Some of them remain loyal to the brand and switch to a petrol engine.

VW has sold 6,23 million cars worldwide, a quarter of a million more than in 2016. Hinrich Woebcken, CEO Volkswagen North America, said in Detroit: "In 2017 we successfully initiated the comeback of the Volkswagen brand in the USA." Vehicles affected by the diesel scandal in the USA have already been converted or bought back. Although VW grew 80 percent worldwide compared to 540.000, sales in Germany fell by 4,2 percent.

Showpiece in Detroit: the G-Class cast in resin. Photos: Daimler

With 2,3 million vehicles sold in 2017, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche claims global pole position in the premium segment and an incredible sales increase of ten percent. The Mercedes boss had brought the completely revised Mercedes-Benz G-Class. According to the press release, she is said to have reinvented herself. It is not difficult to overlook the linguistic nonsense ("An icon reinvents itself"). The fact that this terrain extremist, introduced in 1979, is still enjoyed by an unbroken fan community is really the exception on the market.

Dieter Zetsche in a casual outfit claims the premium pole position

BMW is presenting two so-called world premieres in Detroit, but the appearance in the Cobo Hall is not really glamorous. The revised i8 Coupé will initially come onto the market in the roadster version in a first edition limited to 200 copies. One can doubt whether this will be sufficient as a world premiere. It is disappointing that the next leap in electromobility will not come until 2022. "BMW seems to have gone from being a pacemaker to being a brake," says a former manager.

BMW does indeed seem to have become a bit disoriented. Even legendary ex-BMW boss Eberhard von Kuenheim recently criticized this at a meeting of former BMW board members and division heads. BMW's press work is "invisible". BMW is no longer perceived as an innovative brand. In the circle of the ex-BMW management team, the situation was even called "intolerable". So it doesn't help if a few days ago, contrary to the Mercedes-Benz figures, BMW also behaved as "the world's leading premium automobile manufacturer".



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