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Whizzy roadster or solid sedan? Buyers of luxury cars are wooed by a mixture of performance, comfort and finish. Investors in their makers’ shares have much the same criteria. For years, BMW has outgunned German rival Daimler (which also takes in a large heavy truck business). On a five-year basis, BMW shares have generated a total return of 200 per cent; Daimler’s, just 70 per cent. At the turn of the year, though, activist shareholders pushed for a gear change at the latter group: chief executive Dieter Zetsche saw his contract renewed, but delivery was demanded. And, in 2013, it is Daimler’s shares that have moved into the fast lane, rising almost one-third. BMW’s stock has stalled.