BMW and Audi have always enjoyed a healthy and respectful relationship. But that hasn’t stopped both companies from throwing pot shots at each other. Remember the billboard wars the two companies engaged in about a decade ago? Apparently, old habits die hard because the German automakers are at it again with another billboard battle royal, this time in the North African country of Tunisia.
The billboard tit-for-tat between BMW and Audi goes all the way back to 2009 when Audi unveiled a billboard in Santa Monica, California featuring the then-new Audi A4 with the tagline, “Your move, BMW.” It didn’t take long for the Bimmer dealership across the street to respond with a billboard of its own, featuring a BMW M3 that came with the response, “Checkmate.” Touche, right?
This brings us to the present day. In a reversal of roles, BMW lobbed the first potshot with a French language billboard in Tunisia featuring the automaker’s new headlamps and a tagline that translates to “It’s never too late to change.” The billboard itself was a passive-aggressive shot at the Ennakl Automobiles dealer, which sells a host of models under the Volkswagen brand, including VWs, SEATs, Porsches, and Audis.
Like clockwork, Audi spent little time coming up with a response, doing so with a billboard that shows nothing more than a big “LOOOL” — notice the O’s are actually Audi’s four rings logo? — and a message below that translates to “We do not change a winning team.”
I don’t expect a reaction to come from BMW because this is usually how billboard wars work. These things don’t come cheap and there’s always something to be said for a side to go first and respond when the other side responds. That’s bordering on pettiness. Besides, BMW can always point to its 2017 sales numbers to get the final word. The Bavarians moved 2.08 million cars in 2017, ahead of Audi, which sold 1.9 million cars in the same time period.
The only thing that would make this billboard battle even more awesome if it turned into a triple threat Texas tornado match with Mercedes-Benz joining the fold. The Silver Arrows actually outsold both BMW and Audi in 2017 with 2.29 million sold units.
Actually, that’s all it needs to put it in its billboard.
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