An unholy scramble is developing in Germany over which carmaker will build a new Popemobile for the recently elected leader of the Catholic church.
Naturally, because Pope Benedict XVI is Bavarian-born, Munich-based BMW would like the honor. The Munich press is speculating that the next Popemobile could be built on an adapted version of the X5 SUV.
"We would be happy if the pope ordered a vehicle from us," BMW spokesman Rudolf Probst told the Abendzeitung, Munich's evening newspaper.
Audi, which is based in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, feels it should be in the running, too. A spokesman said it would be an honor to build a vehicle to transport the pope.
Even Audi parent Volkswagen is in the competition. VW has offered to make a special Popemobile for when Pope Benedict XVI attends a VW-sponsored youth festival in Cologne, Germany, August 16-21.
Current Popemobile maker Mercedes-Benz says the furor is all speculation.
"If the Vatican approaches us, we will certainly be able to build another vehicle," a spokesman said. "Definitely, a company can be proud to supply the Popemobile."