Benz barters buses for bananas to break trade impasse
Monday 21 February 1994
There is nothing silly about this question for the people at Debis, the financial services arm of Daimler- Benz, who have been stretching their minds round ever more unlikely ways to improve the miserable sales at Mercedes' commercial vehicles division.
And they hit the jackpot recently with a dollars 65m bananas for buses deal with Ecuador. For two years Mercedes had been negotiating fruitlessly to sell 1,000 buses to the country's two main cities, Quito and Guayaquil; there was never enough money. Then, last summer, help arrived from the unexpected quarter of Brussels and the European Union's new banana regime, which made imports much harder from Latin American countries.
Ecuador suddenly found itself sitting on a vast yellow mountain that risked going black and squidgy. The German population, Europe's champion banana guzzlers, howled in outrage at the EU decision and the Bonn government protested vigorously. But Mercedes had an eye for the main chance.
Debis offered to buy the bananas, in exchange for the buses, and enough have already been off- loaded in Russia and the Far East to pay for the first 100 vehicles. An eager Mercedes has since taken on further banana options. In these hard times, with many countries facing currency shortages, Debis' operations have become as assorted as the wares of a market stall.
There are honey melons coming out of Honduras and coffee beans from Nigeria, in exchange for Mercedes trucks. Dried Colombian pineapples are being bartered for AEG energy plants, while Chinese industrial products are being taken on to help shift a few Airbus planes for DASA, the aerospace subsidiary of Daimler-Benz.
As far as Debis is concerned, nothing is beyond the bartering pale as long as it boosts Daimler products. 'We can buy anything, because we know that somewhere we will get rid of it again,' says Klaus Haag, managing director.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 5 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£32000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...