Indians Worldwide To Boycott Daimlerchrysler Over Leather Car Seats, Wheel Coverings

For Immediate Release:
24 September 2003

Poorva Joshipura 0207 357 9229 Ext 229; [email protected]

Stuttgart – Former Minister and current Member of Indian Parliament Maneka Gandhi is incensed that cowhide interiors are standard in all top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz models, even those imported to India, where the vast majority of people are Hindus, to whom cows are sacred. The daughter-in-law of the late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi has written a letter to Jurgen E. Schrempp, chair of the board of management of DaimlerChrysler (owner of Mercedes-Benz), to let him know that she is ‘contemplating a large campaign against DaimlerChrysler and its brands in India’.

Indians make up the wealthiest minority communities in both the US and the UK, making them a sizeable market for luxury cars. ‘Hindus and Jains … consider the fact that DaimlerChrysler is not sensitive to their religious and ethical beliefs … a form of discriminationí, writes Gandhi in her letter to Schrempp.

Living and dying conditions for animals killed for leather are atrocious. A recent Washington Post investigation at the largest slaughterhouse in the US revealed repeated instances of animals’ being dismembered while they were still alive. Slaughtering in the EU is also often poorly governed and plagued by animal abuse. Production lines move so fast that cattle are frequently not stunned effectively, which results in their being killed while fully conscious.

‘Synthetic materials are used by companies like BMW and Audi and are often described by consumers as superior to leather’, says PETA director of Asian campaigns Poorva Joshipura. ‘Offering all models with a non-leather option would prevent DaimlerChrylser from losing more business from the worldís many wealthy vegetarians.’

Gandhi’s letter marks at least the second time that DaimlerChrysler has been taken to task about its use of leather in its luxury cars in recent years. In 2002, Texas businesswoman Jeanne Daniels ripped the leather from her new Mercedes-Benz after learning how animals suffer for it, replaced it with a luxurious synthetic material, and had PETA’s ‘cow’ mascot return the leather to DaimlerChrysler’s headquarters.

Maneka Gandhi’s letter to Jurgen Schrempp is available upon request. For more information on leather, please visit