Years ago simply driving a Cadillac, any Cadillac, meant something. “You made it”. “You’ve arrived”. Success… The same can be said for many luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Lexus, etcetera. But the company brand is losing it’s value – and I don’t think that’s such a big deal.
Let’s take Cadillac for example. It’s not exactly “prestigious” to be driving a Cadillac ATS. But your Cadillac ATS-V might get a spot up front in the valet area. How about Mercedes-Benz? People (mainly on the internet) laugh at vehicles like the CLA and GLA. But change the conversation to that of an S65 AMG or SL65 AMG and things change drastically. I bet 99% of the world’s population would be happy to drive an SL65 AMG – but many could “take or leave” a CLA or GLA (though I bet most would “take”).
I also see a lot of people criticizing top tier companies for offering inexpensive entry-level luxury cars saying it’s “damaging the brand”. Maybe so – but personally I don’t feel the company brand is all that important anymore. Nowadays at Mercedes-Benz some of the brands that matter are “S-Class”. “E-Class”. To some extent now that the CLA is the entry-level option – “C-Class”. The G-Class SUV starting at over $110,000.00 isn’t losing any respect because of the CLA starting at a little over $31,000.00.
The way I see it a brand like Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want to 1. WAIT for 2. ONLY people who can 3. FINALLY afford to buy from them. Why not sell to everyone? Why not have EVERYONE drive a Mercedes-Benz? Really? Why not? A kid working at McDonalds driving a CLA doesn’t take anything away from the adult driving the S-Class.
I see what brands like Mercedes-Benz are doing. Why have Toyota sell somebody a Corolla when Mercedes could provide a product and take that customer’s money in the showroom and on the service floor for many years to come? Why LOSE that customer? Mercedes wants people to say, “I’m looking to buy a new car” – but actually mean, “I’m looking to buy a new Mercedes”. In other words – “car” simply means “Mercedes”. That sounds pretty good to me from Mercedes perspective.
And this isn’t just about Mercedes. Other brands like BMW and Audi are doing the same thing. Why not make money at all levels while continuing to offer products out of reach for the 99%? Why not take all the money?