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If You Pay For It, You Can Have It Your Way

Posted in Posts, and Syllabus Schedule

No doubt about it, China is HOT. Cars are being designed with the emerging market in mind. But are they being marketed there effectively? The new Mercedes S class was recently unveiled in Germany and wonders why. The past 2 years only around 15% of S classes were sold in Europe while a full 49% were sold in China. Why then, was the S class unveiled in Germany? Traditionally, cars are debuted in their target markets. Perhaps the stigma of “precision German quality,” is enhanced if the car is seen as more wholly German.

Regardless of where it was first shown, China was obviously a consideration in the design of the vehicle. The car not only comes in a stretch wheelbase version because a majority of Chinese consumers of the vehicle are chauffeured and rear seat comfort is of upmost importance. One begins to wonder though, what the impact becomes on other markets. What will happen to US S class sales? As Jay Mays observed, taste is relatively common across the globe today. Budgets however, are not. Maybe not all European and US customers will be as interested in paying for a full (stretched wheelbase) version of the car? Decisions like this must be considered in the new global market. Attempting to please your largest market? Be careful, or risk alienating another market.


  1. cookg15

    I think that this will be a good first step in establishing a global platform. Once the S class carves out a respectable market share for Mercedes in China, they can use the reputation there that is developed as a result to release a new car that is equally tailored to meet the news of consumers around the globe. Targeting one market and sending the message that Mercedes is willing to meet the individual needs of customers in different countries is a powerful marketing tool.

    May 18, 2013
  2. Yes, and I bet they’re not advertising the “stretch” version in Germany. If J Mays is correct, the tastes toward a (luxury) interior are converging, even if they have to stretch to add market-specific features. So the question will be whether their attention to the creature comforts of the rear seat lead them to ignore the instrument panel that a European or American purchaser would peruse.

    May 18, 2013

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