German automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz may be rivals when it comes to competing for a share of China’s luxury car market, but both were united on Chinese social media to cheer on Germany for its June 17 match against Portugal.
The two companies jointly posted a photo on Weibo to show off their solidarity for their team (and German brand heritage) to Chinese fans. “Cup in hand; together we battle, advance, and retreat! Let the forces of the German chariots combine! We will point both our swords at the enemy ahead and be sleepless tonight. #We are one team#,” said the copy for Mercedes-Benz’s post, according to Campaign Asia’s translation.
Their united attitude didn’t last long, however. After the game, both posted an image of the cars driving off the field. “Goodbye, we’ve met by chance but are also competitors,” said BMW’s message.
Apparently the sense of national team spirit didn’t extend to the companies’ third major German luxury auto rival in China, Audi. The post was actually a snarky spoof of the Volkswagen-owned carmaker’s World Cup post that said “I am one.” According to the commentary of one Chinese blog, “Audi has been left to silently weep in the corner.”
Audi probably wasn’t weeping too hard, since the BMW-Mercedes-Benz partnership was a tale of two underdogs. Audi still dominates these two German rivals when it comes to China sales—from January to May this year, Audi has sold 217,000 vehicles in China, while Mercedes-Benz and BMW sold 184,000 and 112,000 over the same period, respectively.