Friday, June 02, 2006

Auto-Bild and the next small Mercedes

I’m sure many of the readers of this blog are familiar with such features as “Actual Items” or “Headlines” from Conan O’Brien or Jay Leno’s shows – when they go through a selection of articles and advertisements that have been clipped out of magazines and newspapers, that have something rather out of the ordinary written on them. It might be a misprint or a funny remark or association. It is usually great fun and in the case of Conan’s show “it’s all real, why would we fake this, that would waste everyone’s time!...” Oh well,… German magazine Auto-Bild just made a funny example of that type of news. Just check the front-page of this week’s issue. You will see a CGI of a future Mercedes C-class compact model. Everything looks ok, a nice photoshop by Huckfeldt based on reliable information and showing a gorgeous small Mercedes car. But… check the lower-left corner. Some blokes are pushing a VW Golf that seems to have suffered breakdown. One can imagine the obscenities they say in German language while pushing the unreliable machine. Is this a joke by Auto-Bild? Or maybe a sophisticated subliminal message. One that states that in two years time Germans can travel in style, comfort and quality in a new small Mercedes instead of driving a poor people’s Golf. The cruelty of these Auto-Bild reporters!

So what can we expect from this new Mercedes? Mercedes is learning from the success of the BMW 1-series and will apply it in this new car. Instead of being just a 3-door version of the C-class (as the current sportcoupé that is almost as expensive as the regular C), they are making it a bit smaller (and with a smaller wheelbase) and cheaper. This means bad news for many manufacturers. Other than that one can expect a lower base price but very big, expensive (and profitable) options list. Business as usual for Mercedes.

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