I love rivalries, however I love mergers and acquisitions even more. I’ve been watching Audi, BMW, and Mercedes expand into new segments in order to gain an advantage over the other automaker and I hope they are all successful. The stage is setting for the German Three to compete in the German Luxury Car Market, the British Handcrafted Opulence Market, the Italian Super Exotic Market, and the Premium Motorcycle Market. Here are the future sub-quartets I’d love to see in 2025:
Audi - Bentley - Lamborghini - Ducati
The quartet already formed by Audi-Bentley-Lamborghini-Ducati is what spurred me to think of these. From these relationships I’m extracting what is needed for BMW and Mercedes to form their own competing groups. All the brands can pretty much build anything they want to without it being out of character for the brands.
Lamborghini wants to build an SUV? Fine, that’s not out of character for the brand. Bentley wants to build an R8/Huracan based grand tourer? Nothing weird about that. Ducati Off-Roaders and ATVs? Heck yeah, TerraCorsa all the țhings! And Audi can have equivalents from all these brands and remain an Audi because that brand is more “technology” than “emotion.” With so much versatility baked into this Audi Quattroium, BMW and Mercedes must respond.
BMW - Rolls Royce - Mazzanti - BMW
BMW is fairly well set. The nice thing is that Rolls Royce can competely dominate as an SUV brand since even a Holland & Holland Range Rover can’t beat the presence, prestige, and ride of a Rolls. And if that ride and road conquering mentality prevails Off-road then Rolls Royce will be fresh again. However, Rolls can’t make smaller sports cars with smaller engines since they are outside the brand’s character. That’s a disadvantage since Aston Martin can make sedans and super-limos and Bentley can build anything. That said, BMW can push up market and build the 8-series and even a 9-Series to cover that range much the way Mercedes-Maybach is set (except BMW wouldn’t have to separate them from their lineup with a subbrand, win)!
BMW is well versed in motorcycles and cars, each having quite a large range within their regular lineups now that they have turned down the track attitude for street performance (to cries of all the BMW fans that don’t understand the importance of brand-fluidity in global survival). The only issue is that BMW turns into a technology brand as it moves up in the heirarchy, so a Lamborghini-fighter is a nope zone. What they need is a relatively unknown brand that can automatically create comparisons to the emoting exotics. Enter something Italian, loud, and expensive - Mazzanti.
BMW can overhaul the styling and keep the doors because the rear-hing is a great subliminal cache to Rolls Royce. Since they are Italian and costly you get automatic Ferrari and Lamborghini classicification by those that don’t know the name. Mazzanti is the answer, BMW.
Mercedes-AMG - Aston Martin - Pagani - MV Agusta
Mercedes needs to be a major player in the motorcycle world since it’s in their DNA. If they can spin off Mercedes-AMG from Mercedes-Benz then I think everyone would be happy with “AMG” owning Aston Martin, Pagani, and MV Agusta. The engines are there and all the brands have a certain “art” rather than “engineering” vibe that you don’t see often. If Mercedes could play up the artistry-in-engineering then they could create a common theme to orchestrate the quartet around.
I just think this would kick some butt and be great for all parties involved, including the consumers and investers. FCA killed their opportunities to jump into this setup and are too much of a mess to keep up. Ideally they could have had:
- Alfa Romeo as the Audi/BMW/Mercedes competitor
- Maserati as the Bentley/Rolls Royce/Aston Martin competitor. The brand has enough prestige and versatility, we just don’t have confidence in the parent.
- Ferrari against Lamborghini/Mazzanti/Pagani.
- And maybe Fiat could team up with someone (doubtful since FCA is known and shown to be a terrible partner) and spin off Abarth as a premium motorcycle brand. Yeah, not Vespa. I would say Yamaha or Suzuki but I doubt they’d even pick up the phone.
Glad I finally got all this out of my head, now I can remember my bank PIN.