The message is probably heartfelt, but the end product was one of sheer cheekiness. In paying tribute to Dieter Zetcher’s 13-year stewardship at Daimler AG as its CEO and Head of Mercedes-Benz cars, BMW seized the opportunity to induce a few chuckles in this cleverly crafted video.

The last day.

Retirement is when you can finally be yourself… __BMW i8 Roadster: Energy consumption in kWh/100 km (combined): 14.5. Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 2.0. CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 46. The values of fuel consumptions, CO2 emissions and energy consumptions shown were determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version applicable at the time of type approval. The figures refer to a vehicle with basic configuration in Germany and the range shown considers optional equipment and the different size of wheels and tires available on the selected model. The values of the vehicles are already based on the new WLTP regulation and are translated back into NEDC-equivalent values in order to ensure the comparison between the vehicles. [With respect to these vehicles, for vehicle related taxes or other duties based (at least inter alia) on CO2-emissions the CO2 values may differ to the values stated here.] The CO2 efficiency specifications are determined according to Directive 1999/94/EC and the European Regulation in its current version applicable. The values shown are based on the fuel consumption, CO2 values and energy consumptions according to the NEDC cycle for the classification. For further information about the official fuel consumption and the specific CO2 emission of new passenger cars can be taken out of the „handbook of fuel consumption, the CO2 emission and power consumption of new passenger cars“, which is available at all selling points and at https://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html.

Posted by BMW on Wednesday, 22 May 2019

It starts off innocuously enough as a familiar-looking be-moustached gentleman bids farewell to colleagues for the last time. Zetcher (or someone that looks a lot like him) is then chauffeured in an S-Class and dropped off at his residence. In the next instance, the garage door opens and Zetcher scoots off in a BMW i8 roadster. Free at last, supposedly.

The beauty of the clip is that it’s convincing up to the point when the i8 emerges, and then there’s disbelief…before you come to the realisation that BMW is really pulling your leg. As for the real Dieter Zetcher, 22nd May was his last day as CEO, he will now serve a two-year garden leave before standing for election as Chairman of Daimler’s supervisory board in 2021.

Zetcher handing over the reins to Ola Källenius (right).

Over the 13 years at the helm, Zetcher presided over the decoupling of Daimler Chrysler, saw BMW eclipse Mercedes-Benz in sales and then led the change and brand revival which culminated in the position of leadership in the premium segment since 2016. Enjoy your temporary ‘retirement’, Dieter, you’ve earned it.


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Denis Wong
In the age of misinformation and spin, Denis prefers candour and a counterpoint, because the truth matters.