Dieter Zetsche is one of the rare executives with the ability to bring some genuine levity to the scripted and well-rehearsed speeches delivered at auto shows.
The Daimler and Mercedes CEO did it again Sunday night on the eve of the Detroit auto show. When speaking about Daimler's first car, which debuted 125 year ago, he said it was “not exactly a chick magnet" and that with less than 1 hp "if you want to time it in the quarter miles, you almost need a calendar instead of a stopwatch."
People should not misconstrue the comments. The CEO certainly was not disparaging the landmark Benz Patent Motor Car created by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler in 1886 – which Daimler calls the forefather of modern mobility. He was just having a little fun.
Thanks to Zetshce and his speechwriters, a presentation that could have been snoozer was a winner.