A reader emailed a complaint to Mercedes Benz after reading this post, they responded with an apology. Seems pretty sincere in my opinion.

Dear Mrs. [redacted],

Thank you very much for your e-mail dated January 12, 2012. This is in response to your critical comment on the use of a picture of Che Guevara in a Daimler presentation on January 10.

First and foremost, we apologize for having used the picture. It was inappropriate and should not have happened. We feel that we owe you an explanation on the context in which, unfortunately, it did happen.

Last Tuesday our CEO Dieter Zetsche delivered a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. He addressed the revolutionary changes in auto mobility and laid out our plans for auto connectivity. Dr. Zetsche’s remarks were illustrated by multiple images, graphics and videos. In discussing one of our new mobility solutions aimed at reducing traffic congestion, fuel consumption and emissions — namely providing customers with car-sharing services as an alternative to car ownership — Dr. Zetsche said, “. . . in an industry that’s been selling cars for more than 100 years some colleagues still think that car sharing borders on communism. But if that’s the case, then ‘Viva la Revolucion’.” That’s when the ill-chosen image momentarily flashed on the screen. It was a very brief, but nevertheless inadequate snapshot in a 35-minute presentation on how connectivity might change the automobile.

Contrary to some reports it was not an “advertisement” or part of a PR campaign. Dr. Zetsche did not mention Guevara’s name. And Daimler was and is most certainly not condoning the life or actions of this historical figure or the political philosophy he espoused. Still, the fact remains: The image was utterly wrong. Please accept and extend our apology to all who took offense by this reference.

Rolf Bassermann
Daimler AG
Investor Relations
Head of Private Investors &
Investor Relations Internet
HPC 0 324
70546 Stuttgart