It is no secret that automakers will go to extreme lengths to analyze a competitor's vehicle. For example, Daimler was accused by a couple last year of renting their privately owned Tesla Model X to dismantle and preform various tests. The automaker put the vehicle back together before returning it, but there was significant damage that caused the couple to bill Diamler for that and other items such as lost income. The company has once again found itself making headlines for pulling another stunt.
German paper Der Spiegel reports last year that Deutsche Post DHL held a demonstration event for their new StreetScooter electric vans for possible customers to get feedback. One of the 'customers' was a nursing-care service from near Frankfurt that wanted to see if the van would work for patient transport. But suspicions arose when Deutsche Post DHL checked the address given by the service and found out it was a fake. The supposed nursing care service only existed on paper as a 'mailbox' company.
Good thing that Deutsche Post DHL made sure the vans used at the event had GPS trackers. Engineers were able to track the vehicle to a Daimler factory in Stuttgart - a long distance from Aachen where the event was held. They would also discover the van was being driven on Daimler's test track. After getting some lawyers, Deutsche Post went over to the site and demanded their vehicle. Daimler would comply and returned it a half-hour after the visit.
Daimler told Der Spiegel that it was fair game for them to take and examine the vehicle since Deutsche Post DHL would be offering it to third parties. But it should be noted that Daimler didn't have an explanation to the nursing-care service cover story.
Maybe it is just us, but we would assume that some sort of GPS tracker is in a vehicle for a driving event. It would make us think twice about taking a vehicle. One thing is for certain, we're not asking any Daimler employee to help us out in a heist.
Source: Der Spiegel