Discussing brand management at last month's New York auto show, BMW Chairman Helmut Panke seemed to indirectly criticize archrival Mercedes-Benz.
Noting the industry's growing reliance on architecture and sharing components as a means to cut cost, Panke said he is "worried" about "one major manufacturer that is going to make technology available for everyone in the group to use again and again."
Panke called a brand "a promise that has to be fulfilled with each component and each solution. You can't make it with a Post-it note."
DaimlerChrysler has begun a program of sharing components and some architectures among Mercedes, the Chrysler group and affiliate Mitsubishi.
Meanwhile, BMW traditionally takes journalists to a Broadway show during the New York auto event. This year's choice was La Boheme, an opera set in 1840s Paris.
In the Broadway version, which has been set in the 1950s, the flamboyant strumpet Musetta is described as being seen dressed in velvet and "driving off in a Rolls-Royce."
Hearing the line at the Broadway Theatre, Panke let out an unexpected - and enthusiastic - yelp of "Yes!" BMW has owned Rolls-Royce since January 1.