How Mercedes-Benz became so prestigious and why it is being challenged by a new era
Mercedes-Benz can boast that it gave the world the first production car. It has long been an innovator, a relentless pursuit of quality and technical excellence.
Many consumers say that owning a Mercedes-Benz is a sign that they have finally made it in life. According to a study by industry survey firm AutoPacific, it is considered one of the most sought-after brands among major automakers – even by luxury car buyers who prefer cars from competitors.
But the automotive world is changing. Governments and some consumers are pushing for electric vehicles, and companies are pushing to develop new modes of transport, including self-driving cars.
Some of these new technologies, such as Electric powertrains, for example, call the traditional strengths of Mercedes-Benz into question. After all, one of the things the three-pointed star was known for was its superior engine technology.
Mercedes-Benz, some industry watchers say, has been a little slower than others in adapting to the challenge of electrification. At the beginning of 2021, Mercedes-Benz announced that it would postpone the introduction of its EQC electric sports utility vehicle in the USA for the foreseeable future, although SUVs are the most popular light vehicle on the American market today. The company continues to plan to release its electric sedan.
According to some analysts, the German luxury brand and its traditional colleagues such as BMW and Audi are also facing challenges in the growing and extremely important Chinese market, which come from electric upstarts such as Tesla and Chinese manufacturers such as Li Auto. Historically, the three big German brands have controlled 60% of the luxury market in China, but that percentage is dwindling as Tesla continues to open new stores in China, according to a report by Piper Sandler.
Mercedes-Benz has heritage, prestige, talent and a lot of experience in its favor. But the automotive industry makes some big pivots.