Pedigree of the Brands - A Different View of the Story...

...Many of us own cars which come from rather famous brands. Plenty of times, even if you hate to admit it, the badge is the main reason to look at a certain car and, in the end, it's the decisive reason in actually choosing the "perfect"model. OK, there are also people who buy cars strictly to go from point A to point B, but for them there are cars like Dacia. That's also a brand, after all, so I consider this subject closed, at least form this point of view.

The problem comes when people believe they own a Mercedes-Benz, when in fact they own a car with a Mercedes-Benz badge. And this goes for almost any brand these days.

You see, the economy has transformed car brands. The desperation of selling as many cars as possible, the will to be among the first ten places on the sales charts, the relentless search for the magic recipe which lets you build twenty different models on a single platform, all these have diluted the original pedigree of car brands.

About twenty years ago, if someone were to buy a Mercedes or a BMW, he knew exactly what he was getting. I'm not even talking about brands like Porsche or Bentley. Nowadays though, you risk of paying upfront for a Bentley and getting a re-bodied Volkswagen, or buying a British Mini whose French engine won't keep anyone from guessing this is isn't exactly a front-wheel drive BMW in Mini clothing, etc.

People fall easily in traps set up by the ones with the ability of handling the satanic invention named "Marketing". Marketing gives you lovely videos, with shiny cars that have easily noticeable badges. What they don't tell you is that the technical bits are 15 years old and have been modernized to be sold on "emerging markets". Marketing is also fooling you into thinking that you will get the same Mercedes-Benz pedigree in an... SUV. Or the same BMW handling and sportiness in an ugly, 2.5 tonne shored whale, pompously named the X6.

Getting back to topic, I would suggest you to read the history of every major car brand, study its evolution and only buy models that are specific to that brand. It's completely ridiculous to buy an SUV from Mercedes or BMW. They will never be able to make something completely satisfying for someone who actually needs an SUV. It's also totally unproductive to buy a sports car from Peugeot or Renault, never mind Volkswagen. I'm not even getting into a discussion about brands like Skoda and Seat, which shouldn't even exist in a normal world.

It's OK to buy an SL, and S-Klasse or maybe an E-Klasse from Mercedes-Benz. Even the classic G-Klasse has enough Mercedes pedigree. It's also a complete joy to drive a 1-Series or a 3-Series from BMW, but it's ridiculous to buy an X5/X6 and believe that what you're experiencing is a true BMW... It's as ridiculous as an M-Klasse or GL-Klasse from Mercedes or, why not, a convertible from Volkswagen.

Each car brand has its own pedigree and it cannot be hidden. They all have that certain "je ne sais quoi" that they are now trying to desperately hide: tradition! If until about twenty years ago tradition was the main selling point, now it's all about sales volumes, shared platforms, costs reduction, etc. Maybe this is the main reason for the current "well being" of the car industry. You cannot exist without tradition and we shouldn't let marketing dictate in front of tradition and the pedigree which, whether they want it or not, each brand has.

In case you were wondering about the sheer success the Dacia brand is currently having, you should probably learn that they have always been created on a Renault skeleton. The old Dacias were simple cars, extremely cheap and somehow easy to fix in the case something went wrong with them. With the Logan range, Renault only revived a concept long forgotten. And it's successful. Because they respected the brand's pedigree. "Dacias" were cheap, so Renault made the new ones cheap as well, and that was the correct move.

What is there to say when you're buying a Mercedes-Benz that's not comfortable, nor is it reliable and it certainly not a luxurious sedan or a "Silver Arrow" for the road? How can you buy a BMW that's over 5 meters (about 200 inches) long, hoping that you're about to experience the "joy of driving"? It's a boat on wheels, not a true BMW!
Not to mention the sadness I feel when I see a front-wheel drive Mercedes or an all-wheel drive BMW...

PS: I cannot end this rant without noticing a certain trait that has kept coming up on Japanese cars in recent months. They have brake problems! After the Toyota scandal, now Hondas are also starting to experience the "lame brakes" syndrome. Could we possibly see a new "gene" that's starting to get noticed on the pedigree of Japanese cars? Time will tell, I guess...
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