The war was started by BMW boss Guenther Seemann who fired the first shot in an interview with GoAuto last thursday. Mr Seemann went out swinging when he labeled Audi, one of BMW's main competitors, as .. well.. not a competitor.
The BMW chief backed up his comments by pointing out that Audi does not build read-wheel drive cars (although it has a range of Quattros All-Wheel-Drives). He said that BMW only regard Mercedes-Benz and Toyota owned Lexus as competitors in the Australian premium car market.
“When you look at the statistics, we have here two competitors in Australia – one comes from Stuttgart and the other comes from Japan,” Mr Seemann told GoAuto.
Of course, if you're going to attack your fellow country men, you might as well go all the way. Following up his remarks, BMW chief also said that Audi is gaining market share only as a result of massive discounts, which will eventually have a negative affect on customer loyalty.
“A premium brand never ever does short-term actions to increase the sales. For example, offering tomorrow a $15,000 discount, because you will lose recent customers who bought the same cars for the normal price. So there is more to being a premium brand ... you cannot do short actions.” Mr Seemann told GoAuto
There has been a truce between the German rivals for a long time, they do not usually criticize each other and hardly ever make such remarks.
But given the truce was broken, Audi Australia boss Joerg Hofmann decided to respond:
"I don’t want to comment about specific companies. Whatever we communicate is based on fact and the fact is that Audi is by far the fastest growing premium brand in Australia ," he told GoAuto.
And as for the rear-wheel-drive vs the front-wheel-drive argument that BMW were hassling Audi over?
"For me, a premium product has nothing to do with the drivetrain. I think it’s even boring for the customer if you offer only one drivetrain. Audi boss told GoAuto.
Will it end here? Or is BMW about to return fire? Whatever the result of this maybe, Lexus and Mercedes are keeping their mouths shut - far better to let the competition start a war of words.
It is interesting however that BMW do not see Audi as a competitor. That seems at odds with many reports suggesting that BMW updated the BMW M3's inline-six engine to a V8 to compete with the Audi RS4 - its main competitor.
Source : GoAuto