Benz, BMW, and a cen­tury of tech one-up­man­ship

Two car­mak­ers have been try­ing to out-in­vent each other for more than a cen­tury

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Front Page -

In March, BMW marked its cen­ten­nial—and a cen­tury of tech­no­log­i­cal ri­valry with Daim­ler’s Mercedes-benz. In news­pa­per ads, Benz, which can lay claim to hav­ing in­vented the car in 1886, con­gratu-mocked its Bavar­ian arch­en­emy: “Thanks for 100 years of com­pe­ti­tion. The 30 years be­fore that were a lit­tle dull.” That’s like M-B do­ing dough­nuts on BMW’S drive­way. Here, a time­line of the he two com­pa­nies trad­ing po pole po­si­tion for au­to­mo­tive supremacy. Score­card or is 1 point 1 A leder­ho­sen-clad leg up 2 Open­ing it up on the au­to­bahn ahn 3 Piti­less Arsch- whup­ping 4 Has­sel­hoff con­cert


Karl Benz cre­ates the Pa­tent-mo­tor­wa­gen, widely ac­cepted to be the first au­to­mo­bile.


Got­tlieb Daim­ler and Wil­helm May­bach retro­fit a stage­coach with a gaso­line en­gine.


Daim­lerD re­ceives a pa­tent for the ho hon­ey­comb ra­di­a­tor, still till the ba­sis for wa­ter­wate cooled en­gines.


Daim­ler-mo­tor enGe­sellschaft (DMG) builds the Mercedes 35 PS, a car named for a cus­tomer’s daugh­ter.


BMW’S R37 and R39 mo­tor­cy­cles fit pro­duc­tion en­gines with cylin­der heads made of lighter, cool­er­run­ning alu­minum.


Banned from build­ing air­craft or their en­gines by the Treaty of Ver­sailles, BMW makes the R32, its first mo­tor­cy­cle.


A young DMG em­ployee, Fer­di­nand Porsche, helps build the first su­per­charger.


BMW’S pre­de­ces­sor, air­craft maker Bay­erische Flugzeug­w­erke (BFW), is founded.


BMW un­veils the Hy­dro­gen 7, a ver­sion of the com­pany’s 7 Se­ries sedan fea­tur­ing an en­gine that can run on gaso­line or com­pressed hy­dro­gen.


BMW dis­plays a con­cept elec­tric car, the i3, at the Frank­furt Auto Show.


Mssrs. Daim­ler and Benz merge their com­pa­nies: MercedesBe­nz is born.


BMW buys Roll­sRoyce.


Daim­ler starts sell­ing the Smart Fortwo, a two-seat mi­cro­car for city driv­ing.


If 12 cylin­ders is cool, then … Mercedes con­sid­ers pack­ing 24 into its May­bach limo, but ul­ti­mately set­tles for a 12-cylin­der model.


Com­mit­ted to the same ro­tarycon­troller strat­egy that be­dev­iled BMW’S idrive, Mercedes adds a sim­i­lar sys­tem to its flag­ship S-class. It’s also widely panned.


Mercedes-benz’s ad­vanced re­search ve­hi­cle, the F 015, pre­sents a vi­sion of a driver­less fu­ture with swivel­ing con­fer­ences­tyle seats.


That works out to Mercedes-benz 27, BMW 24— a close race, par­tic­u­larly since Benz had a 30-year head start.


Af­ter six years of mo­tor­cy­cles, BMW be­gins mak­ing the 3/15, its first pro­duc­tion car, based on Bri­tain’s Austin 7.


At the Tokyo Auto Show, Mercedes un­veils a con­cept limo called the May­bach, meant to com­pete­pete withth Rolls-royce. oyce.


Tap­ping its mo­tor­cy­cle her­itage, BMW starts sell­ing the C1, a par­tiallya ta y en­closed scooterote­r for city driv­ing. ng.


Mercedes-ben­zMercedes- Benz pro­duces the world’s first sev­en­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.


BMW shows off its con­cept Vi­sion Next 100, of­fer­ing a glimpse of con­trols based on mo­tion sen­sors and Iron Manesque dis­plays.

BMW 24

BMW, how­ever, can com­fort it­self with the No. 1 rank­ing in lux­ury car sales, which it took from Benz in 2005.


Ditch­ingD less less­re­spon­siveres solid axles,axles the MercedesBe­nzB 170 is the firstfi s car with four­wheel in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion.


Sens­ing a mar­ket shift to­ward SUVS, Mercedes starts sell­ing the M-class. BMW bringsb in one out two yearsy later.


TheTh world’s first voice-recog­ni­tion­voi sys­tem ap­pears in the Mercedes-benz S-class.


BMW un­veil­sun idrive, an on­boar­d­onbo com­puter sys­tem­syste that uses a ro­tary­rota con­troller, in its flag­ship 7 Se­ries. It’s wide­lyw panned.


TheTh Bmw-owned Mini brand shows its new small car, the Mini Hatch/hard­top, at the Detroit Auto Show. The car be­comes a huge sales suc­cess.


BMW re­leases its first fully orig­i­nal car de­sign, the BMW AM1. (Although the body is made by Daim­lerBenz.)


The world’s first diesel car, the Mercedes-benz 260D, D, hits the road.


Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Pro­gram—an anti-skid tech­nol­ogy that’s now man­dated on all ve­hi­cles by U.S. law—first ap­pears on a Mercedes-benz S-class.


Just to see if it can, BMW tests a 16-cylin­der en­gine in the 767 Gold­fish. The car is never ap­proved for pro­duc­tion.


BMW stuffs a mam­moth 12-cylin­der en­gine into its 7 Se­ries sedan. Three years later, Mercedes does the same.


It’s more fa­mous for its gull-wing doors, but the Mercedes-benz 300SL is the first pro­duc­tion car to have fuel in­jec­tion.


To com­pete with the 300SL, BMW re­leases the 507. While prized to­day, the car is a mar­ket fail­ure and moves BMW to­ward bank­ruptcy. Three years later, the com­pany nearly sells it­self to MercedesBe­nz.


At the Frank­furt Auto Show, Mercedes un­veils its all-wheeldrive sys­tem, 4Matic. BMW does one bet­ter, sell­ing an all-wheel drive ver­sion of its 3 Se­ries sedan, the 325ix.325


WhileWhi a 1-year-old Elon MuskM is grab­bing his toes,to BMW brings its all-elec­tric con­ceptc car, the 1602e, to the Mu­nichMu Olympics.


BMW re­leases the 2002 Turbo, one of the first cars to fea­ture a tur­bocharged en­gine.


MercedesBe­nz of­fers an elec­tronic an­tilock brake sys­tem on its S-class sedan, beat­ing BMW to mar­ket.


Mercedes-benz’s 190E is the first pro­duc­tion car to have a mul­ti­link rear sus­pen­sion.

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