Germany’s economic chief asks BMW and Mercedes when they’ll build a car ‘half as sexy as one by Tesla’

The Tesla Roadster
  • “As far as the attractiveness of your e-cars is concerned, you could actually come up with some fresh ideas,” Germany’s top economic minister asked the heads of BMW and Mercedes.
  • His comments came at a panel on AI in Germany, where the executives he posed the hypothetical to were not present.
  • BMW and Daimler could rise to the top of the electric vehicle segment by 2021, a recent consultant report said.

One of Germany’s top government ministers doesn’t want the countries automakers to get left in Tesla’s dust.

Peter Altmaier, the country’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, asked the heads of BMW and Mercedes-Benz-parent Daimler a brutal hypothetical: when will they make a car half as sexy as a Tesla, first reported by Electrek.

“I really wonder when you, Mr. Zetsche, or you, Mr. Diess, or Mr. Krüger of BMW will be able to get an electric car build, which is only half as sexy as one by Tesla,” he reportedly said at a panel on AI, per Spiegel. “As far as the attractiveness of your e-cars is concerned, you could actually come up with some fresh ideas.”

According to the German paper, there was no immediate response from the other two CEO’s, who were not present at the panel. It’s also possible Altmaier could have been posing a joke.

Still, as far a design is concerned, Altamaier could be a victim of personal preference. When it comes to pure electric vehicle sales, a report from PA Consulting earlier this year said BMW and Daimler will easily rise to the top of the segment by 2021.

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Mini, which is owned by BMW, plans to release a fully electric version of its core hatchback vehicle next year, adding to its already extensive lineup of EVs. The new Mini will join BMW’s i3 and i8 electric cars. BMW revealed earlier this year that 7% of its US car sales were EVs, and it plans for 25% of its total vehicle sales to come from EVs by 2025.

Daimler – the parent company of Mercedes-Benz – continues to build out its fleet of electric cars and semi-trucks. In addition to a growing number of electric sedans in its lineup, Daimler plans to start selling a pair of fully electric semi-trucks in 2021 that will compete directly with Tesla’s much-hyped truck. Daimler plans to sell at least 100,000 annually around the globe by 2020.

Meanwhile, Tesla is said to be targeting a production rate of 7,000 Model 3’s per week, a pace that could help it remain profitable enough to build its long-awaits $US35,000 base model of the sedan. At less than half the price of what many fully-loaded Model 3’s are currently selling for, the price point could help Tesla maintain its lead over the international competitors.

Nicholas Shields contributed to this report.