Mercedes Reportedly Caused $18K In Damage To A Rented Tesla Model X

Mercedes is preparing to launch its electric EQC crossover in 2019 and it appears the company recently decided to check out the competition by doing a teardown on a Tesla Model X.

While this isn’t too unusual, Mercedes reportedly rented the Model X for seven weeks through Sixt instead of purchasing the vehicle outright. According to Spiegel and Jalopnik, the crossover belonged to Monika Kindlein and Manfred van Rinsum and when it was returned the couple discovered it was significantly damaged.

The report says the crossover was subjected to an assortment of different tests and extreme conditions as well as disassembled and put back together again. The model was also tested on tracks near Barcelona, Spain and Sindelfingen, Germany which was prohibited as part of the rental agreement.

The Model X reportedly suffered significant damage and Sixt told Spiegel that the owners were compensated for the damage and depreciation that resulted from its improper use. However, the couple isn’t satisfied as an appraiser reportedly estimated the company caused €15,674 ($18,584) worth of damage and that will cause the crossover to lose about €2,000 ($2,371) in value. The couple is seeking a total of €99,392.79 ($117,906.68) but don’t expect to get the full amount as they simply don’t have the resources of Daimler or Sixt if the case were to go to court.

When Jalopnik reached out to Daimler, a spokesperson declined to comment on the story but said “renting vehicles for comparison purposes is a common procedure in the automotive industry.” The spokesperson added “In case the rental vehicles are damaged in the course of the rental period, the normal insurance procedure is started and a claim settlement is made.”

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    • Frederico Silva

      Yeah, I’m sure that’s the issue. Mercedes can’t afford one.

      • Craig

        Obviously. So why didn’t they?

        • Status

          Why give money directly to your competitor when you can rent out their car from a private owner, trash it during reverse engineering, and pay out a settlement fee to a owner for thousands less than the purchase price of a car.

          It really is that obvious.

          • ukw

            Not sure if sarcasm or you really think they did the right way by renting.

          • Status

            Then be sure of this. It wasn’t sarcasm and it wasn’t a justification of Mercedes actions. It was simply stating what Mercedes did to avoid giving any money to Tesla.

            That’s it. Not everything has a subtext.

          • Enter Ranting

            Because doing that makes you look like an a-hole when it comes out in the press. How obvious is that? Mercedes looks like a bunch of cheap punks.

          • Status

            Then that would be egg on Mercedes face, and their public pressure for them to bear.

            Mercedes has likely figured how the spike in this story at first would be the only real exposure the story would ever get, and therefore the greatest damage to their public image from this story is within the first week. Any future news on the matter to get less readership traffic measured by a negative logarithmic curve decreasing over time.

            The story of the court action gets cold. The case gets lost in the German court system. A settlement is ruled in favour of the owners, and by then Mercedes EQC will be on the front page of Carscoops. Mercedes execs, at the blessing of their PR and RM teams, considered that looking like assholes for a week was a small price to for the reverse engineering knowledge of a competitors product.

            PR and reputation management people do this every single day. They know what the life-cycles of major negative press stories are, and that some fade away faster than others with virtually no lasting damage to either the company’s public image or their stock value.

    • Merc1

      Completely out to lunch.


  • Nordschleife

    I do think this is a little crass of Mercedes. I expect better.

    • SteersUright

      Exactly! Well said.

  • Jay

    yeah what the hell? They took a rental apart and thought that was ok!? let alone a rental of a normal user? Man they should be bought a new Tesla X. That is ridiculous.

  • AxlRock

    Why is this common? I’m sure if you are spending hundreds of millions on developing a car you can shell out some money to buy a new car. It’s quite disappointing and unfair that people who have been duped like this have to let it go just because the company has better lawyers! And guess what they can shell out money for the lawyers but not for buying a car, lol. Mercedes must be sued!

    • Jason Miller

      Manufactures will literally spend months testing ways to reduce the costs of building their cars 25 cents at a time because with mass production that 25 cents adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. They would rather spend a few grand renting a car than paying full price for one and then losing even more money on depreciation. Sad truth.

    • Enter Ranting

      It’s not common. Car makers purchase the cars of their rivals for teardown study.

  • Moveon Libtards

    Rental Teslas?

    Wow, Tesla really is getting desperate for sales.

  • Merc1

    Hilarious. I love it.


  • Ridiculous…manufacturers usually purchase a car for a teardown…shame on you M-B…absolutely tasteless and no CLASS!!!

  • eb110americana

    I guess, if you can’t beat ’em–dismantle ’em?

  • Six_Tymes

    They Need to Research Tesla. “HAHA!”

  • SteersUright

    Thats despicable. If the car belonged to Enterprise or some big, rich corporation, you’d imagine MB wouldn’t want to get caught up in long term litigation and would’ve settled appropriately. But to dismantle and abuse a regular person’s car rather than buy one as would be so much more appropriate, and then low-ball them on the settlement is reprehensible. For goodness sake, who’s running the show at MB these days, Trump and his cronies?!

  • Bob

    If disassembling and track testing is normal pratice for a rental car in Mercedes opinion then I’m curious how Mercedes gonna deal with their own car sharing business. I don’t think that Mercedes would say same thing if their s class was track tested and disassembled and get such cocky response to it. So big shame.

  • Miknik

    Pretty much sums up the image of the German car industry nowadays….

  • Ary Wisesa

    This is so disgusting!!! If I were the owner of that Tesla, I would launch a crowdfunding to fight Mercedes with class action. (I myself would be happy to donate a little money to the crowdfunding). Mercedes is VERY wrong about this. It is so wrong to rent a car for common people and tear it apart for their “research”. If they want to tear something apart, they should do it with their OWN property.

    Mercedes should learn from Lexus, during the development of Lexus LS400, they bought some Mercedeses and BMWs and actually dissecting it, and it’s OK because it’s actually and legally their property. But dissecting other people’s property without their permission is unethical and low-class. It only needs common sense and conscience to recognize that this act is illegal.

    Their slogan “The best or nothing” sounds more like “The beast and disgusting”.

  • Vassilis

    Wait, I’m a little confused. How does a rental car belong to a person and not the rental company?

    • Stephen G

      Not a “rental” car but a “rented” car…like and Uber or a bed and breakfast.

      • Vassilis

        But it says through Sixt. Do rental companies rent out privately owned cars?

  • Kingsley Mpofu

    Look at all you distressed men crying like a bunch of little girls over a top. Get over it, it’s not that serious

    • LWOAP

      If it was your car this happened to you would be pissed. What they did was fucked up.

  • Taegon Lewis

    I could imagine, Mercedes destroying the Model X, Office Space-style. Like this:

  • Infinite1

    That is some shady s**t coming from any auto maker, but from Mercedes Benz? Really MB? You couldn’t buy one out right and tear it apart? MB wouldn’t rent a car from a major car rental company since they have deep pockets and a fleet of attorneys to match so of course, renting a car from people who wouldn’t have the means to fight MB in court is their choice… That’s just wrong

  • nauticalone

    Wow MB…that’s some low class move there!

  • Taegon Lewis

    I wish, most electric vehicles get the same treatment, just like the ugly abomination that is Tesla. Great job, Mercedes.

    (Also, I’m not being sarcastic.)

  • Stephen G

    I guess Mercedes has gone from purchasing well know auto manufacturers and trashing them to renting individual cars and trashing them.

  • Lyonel Baratheon


  • Plutonium

    Mercedes was Tesla partner for awhile. Tesla switch gear and wiring was from them. Mercedes behavior is typical arrogance of German snobbery. “So sue us, we don’t care” attitude.