It’s no secret that rental cars tend to be subjected to a substantial amount of abuse, but Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, has reportedly taken things to a whole new level. The company rented a Tesla Model X for seven weeks during July and August, and what they did goes well beyond what most renters would dare to do.
The rented Tesla Model X was said to be owned by Monika Kindlein and Manfred van Rinsum, a Bavarian couple that owned three Tesla vehicles. The pair often put their Tesla’s up for rent to generate extra income, with wedding parties and participants at other events frequently being the renters.
However, the couple allowed the Model X to be rented through a company, Sixt, and they were unaware that it ended up in the hands of Daimler. When the vehicle was returned, it was heavily damaged, and not because of a crash.
After securing the Model X, Daimler didn’t just test out the vehicle, they dismantled it, according to a report cited by Jalopnik.
The damage to the Model X was said to be extensive after the vehicle was “tested under extreme conditions – including heat, on a vibrating tack and a traction track.”
Additionally, the car was “apparently disassembled and screwed together again” while in the hands of Daimler.
In the rental agreement, the car company’s intention to dismantle and roughly test the vehicle was not disclosed. When it was returned, the damage was estimated at €15,674 ($18,602), and the car was said to have depreciated by €2,000 ($2,374).
The car was also driven to Barcelona, well outside of the parameters of the rental agreement, which Van Rinsum only discovered when his phone notified him that the vehicle was being charged near the city. After becoming concerned, he monitored the Model X’s GPS information and found that it was driven on test tracks near Barcelona as well as one in Sindelfingen.
Van Rinsum disagreed with the assessment of the damages, particularly since the couple would potentially lose income while the vehicle was being repaired. They also attempted to assess a €1,000 ($1,186) fine for each day the Model X was on the test track, requested compensation for the time required to deal with the matter, and an additional payment to serve as a confidentiality agreement. Van Rinsum’s total came in at €99,392.79 ($117,984.21).
The couple does not believe they’ll receive the full amount that they assert is owed, especially since they do not have access to the legal resources that would be at the disposal of the companies.