The Mercedes for Less

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If you follow this column, you’ll recall I had a falling out with Mercedes-Benz back in January over what I’d written about Mercedes-Benz devices. Mercedes has openly stated it intends to sell nothing except devices within just a few years from now and it apparently irritated Mercedes – corporate – that I’d made a few observations about this.

One of them is parked outside my garage right now.

It is a 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV sent for me to test drive and review. What has that to do with Mercedes?

Well, just look at it.

The Ioniq looks so much like a Mercedes EQE – one of Mercedes’ newest devices that I test drove last year – that it could easily be mistaken for an EQE. Especially from the side. It even has the same flush-mounted rectangular door pulls that automatically deploy as you approach and the device senses the proximity of the key fob holder.

From 20 yards out, you’d be hard-pressed to tell.

I don’t know for a fact whether Hyundai designers deliberately cribbed the Ioniq’s design but the practice of copying the looks of a more expensive/prestigious model is common, for the obvious reason. People who can’t afford a high-priced car such as a Mercedes – or who would rather not pay for one – often like driving a car that looks like one. Lexus understood this when it designed the first LS sedan back in the late 1980s. It looked a lot like a Mercedes E-Class sedan – but it cost a lot less than a Mercedes E-Class sedan.

Lexus sold a lot of them, at the expense of Mercedes.

But here’s what’s apparently not obvious – to Mercedes and also the other “premium” brands (including Lexus) when it comes to devices:

There is no meaningful difference between the various devices – especially when they are also styled to look the same. The ’24 Ioniq not only looks a lot like a ’24 EQE, it might as well be an EQE.

Or the reverse.

Except, of course, for the price.

What do you get for the $74,900 that Mercedes asks for an EQE vs. what you get for the $37,500 Hyundai asks for the Ioniq? Well, you get a larger, non-functional swath-of-plastic “grill” (devices don’t need airflow over the radiators they don’t have for the engines they lack) and a really large plastic “Mercedes” three-pointed star symbol that desperately touts how much more you paid for this device rather than the other device.

But underneath the plastic?

There are electric motors and batteries in both devices. The same soundless, anodyne, homogenous things, in both devices.

It’s true the Mercedes device has a larger battery and stronger motors. But this is a difference akin to one smartphone having a larger screen than another. In other words, it is not much of a difference. Especially when viewed in the context of the difference in price. The EQE costs literally twice-as-much as the Ioniq. You could buy two of Hyundai’s devices for the cost of one Mercedes device and that would solve the main problem attending device ownership – i.e., having to plan your life around recharging the thing – because you could drive one device while the other is charging and then swap them out as needed. As you would the batteries for a cordless drill.

But what do you get for spending twice as much on the Mercedes device? Other than more inconvenience?

Well, you get that big plastic “Mercedes” three-pointed star plastic-welded to the plastic oversized non-functional grill. You also get simulated spaceship sounds piped through the audio system. The Hyundai device does not offer this, but you could probably Bluetooth similar sounds through its similar LCD touchscreen display infotainment system.

You don’t even get as far.

The Mercedes device comes standard with 260 miles of range (best case) before it’s necessary to plug the thing in again. The Hyundai device can go 270 miles.

Contrast this with getting what you paid for, once-upon-a-time, when you bought a Mercedes rather than a Hyundai.

The main thing being an engine designed by Mercedes engineers and assembled by Mercedes technicians that was not just different from the engines that powered other cars but also a cut above. More refined, of higher quality. Analogous to what you pay for when you buy a Rolex watch rather than a $20 digital watch. They are both watches – and both tell the time. But everyone understands the difference between the two.

And that difference would not be made the same by affixing “Rolex” to the $20 digital watch.

I tried to explain this to the Mercedes PR guy who rescinded my Mercedes press loan privileges. I asked him whether the longstanding Mercedes practice of having the master technician who hand-assembled Mercedes’ specialty engines – the AMG line – would continue when “AMG” meant another device and probably made with Chinese-sourced components not meaningfully different from those installed in other devices.

He didn’t reply.

. . .

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49 COMMENTS

  1. The Mercedes for Less…..

    Debt financed things are going down…but…one thing not going down is rents…

    To add insult to injury….

    If you rent from a foreign owner, you could be on the hook for the tax they aren’t paying on the rental income…..

    in that situation the renter is supposed to withhold the tax and submit it…

    if there is a property management company…they are responsible for this…..if there isn’t…look out…..

  2. EVs, if they’re continued by the Communist Uni-Party in America to be shoved down our throat with the eventual banning of ICE, will destroy the Auto Industry in America (that is what they want btw), as why get anything except the cheapest EV as they’ll all be the same anyway? BYD or CCPXIEV or whatever the Chinese want to call their XI EVs, just buy those…they’re cell phones on wheels. Apples and Androids with 20 inch wheels. What a sick joke.

  3. Mercedes Benz has spent the last 30 years or so destroying their brand a little at a time.

    Up through the 1980s a Mercedes Benz was an expensive car but taken care of to any reasonable degree it would last. That started changing in the 1990s. The 1980s MB’s were still on the road in numbers when the 1990s cars were disappearing.

    Changing over to BEV’s simply finalizes the hollowing out of the brand. Removes the last few parts of the old company’s product offerings that had any substance. It’s just a fashion brand at that point. A badge. They could buy products made by Chinese company with their badge on them.

  4. At least the Koreans can build their own car now……

    Korea…A Fiat 124 was named a Kia….

    The Fiat 124 was also produced under the name Fiat-KIA 124 by Asia Motors in South Korea, between 1970 and 1975. In total 6775 units were assembled…then they figured out how to build a car…..

    The Italian’s were the world leader in auto manufacturing, had the best technology…the Fiat 124 was assembled under licence in many countries…..

    Today Italy’s car manufacturing is heading for the bottom, extinction?……

    The Stellantis ceo said…..Cars can be built for 40% less in China then in Europe….

    • The Italian auto industry died along with Sergio Marchionne. Not long after Marchionne’s demise, ungrateful Fiat heir John Elkann dumped Fiat-owned parts maker Marelli and pocketed the cash, tried to offload transport van division Iveco to the Chinese, and let Peugeot (PSA) for all intents and purposes take over FCA in what was nominally a merger.

      As for the Stellantis CEO, well, there’s a reason I call him Cheapskate Carlos… He even sourced engines from China for European-built Peugeot and Citroën/DS models a few years back. I suppose things such as quality and reputation are not important for him, so buyer beware.

      • Italy made the best cars….. a long time ago….

        Forget Mercedes, Aston and Ferrari…… Lancia used to make the best cars in the world.

        …Lancia now owned by Fiat…Stellantis….

        The Astonishing Lancia That Bettered Aston And Ferrari – Lancia Flaminia GTL…a work of art….

        In the video…..
        The 1962 Aluminium bodied, coachbuilt Flaminia ……Bodywork by Carrozzeria Turing, V6 by Lancia…no seatbelts….

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYBBhYzR64k

        • Lancia has for several years been a one-brand model with the Ypsilon. A new generation Ypsilon has just been announced, a lightly restyled Peugeot 208 made in Spain, and as I understand it initially only available as a dEVice.

          Lancia is not a brand that has been treated well (just think of the Chrysler/Lancia rebadging a few years ago), and it’s hard to tell from its model lineup for the past few decades what the brand once was. It’s a miracle that the brand even exists at this point, I’m guessing Cheapskate Carlos will be the one who kills it (or maybe slaps the Lancia badge on a Chinese Leapmotor EV, which would essentially be to kill Lancia).

        • 1962 Lancia Flaminia GTL….msrp new $7000….$73,000 in 2024 dollars….

          current value today…about $150,000…condition 3…..quality holds it’s value….

          highest auction price around $400,000……

          bring these back…they are better then the 2024 cars for sale today…..

  5. The tide is turning on EV’s in the EU, particularly in Germany. The thing to understand about Germany is that their economy is a few large industries (like cars) with a government attached, not the other way around like in the US. Europeans who wanted EV’s have them and the rest aren’t buying anymore.

    There’s hope, the ICE isn’t dead. The future, though, is hybrid, not back to simple ICE designs.

    • Cars can be built for 40% less in China then in Europe….

      Looks like China will be the only manufacturer of cars soon….unless something radical happens….

      Just recently Audi gave up on their new EV platform development and were looking into buying an EV platform from a Chinese manufacturer and basically rebadging it…..they can’t compete…..

      China just did this in England….they bought the MG brand….now they are selling a Chinese EV in England badged as an MG…for $50,000?…..

      dumb slaves buy it because of the brand name…..and there is no dealer support for it…lol

      • Evil politicians want to deindustrialise the Western world, because climate change. They also want to kill the auto industry, because climate change. And most people are not supposed to drive anyway, because climate change.

        Cui bono? Well, at least the Chinese…

    • ‘The future, though, is hybrid, not back to simple ICE designs.’ — OppositeLock

      Broadly agree, given current CAFE and GHG regulations.

      But Orange Man Rad could jettison all that crap — stroke of a pen, bitchez! 🙂

  6. I’m through with German cars. They no longer are a value proposition, no longer rate highly in reliability and longevity, and cost too much.

    • They also depreciate like crazy. I picked up a 520HP V8, 4 year old Cayenne for 1/3 of its original price. It’s the best car I’ve ever had for road trips with the family and for towing, love it. Yes, it requires a lot of constant fixes, but I’ve been able to do all but one myself. I guess you have to be a shadetree mechanic to own one of these. I’d never buy a new German car for the reasons you mention.

      • The cheapest entry level Porsche for young people or poor people is a Porsche Cayenne…starting around $7800……..not a 924….lol….Boxster is next cheapest….but…..911’s do hold their value…….

  7. Eric: Well, you get that big plastic “Mercedes” three-pointed star plastic-welded to the plastic oversized non-functional grill.

    You know they are mocking you when a $75,000 dollar car comes with plastic emblems. Back in the 70s even Chevy’s came with chrome plated metal emblems. Sadly the Hyundai is probably more reliable now than the Mercedes.

    Is it just me but the more they make them look swoopy and aerodynamic the more useless the trunk becomes and the less headroom is available for the rear seat passengers there is.

  8. I look at all of these new cars and wonder just how anyone could get excited about any of these items. They look like plastic Easter eggs.

    As I was typing this, I happened to glance down at the busy street below and witnessed a late 60’s convertible Cadillac cruise by with the top down on this chilly 45 degree morning. Beautiful.

    • All the new cars look terrible, there is no design anymore…why?

      Because they are all built for the biggest car market now…China…

      Everything comes from China now….

      most of the ingredients for big pharma drugs, most of the important parts for EV’s and their batteries, most of the after market used car parts, most of the equipment to expand the grid, most of the solar panels and wind turbines, the cheapest cars, a lot of the cell phones, computers, drones, 5G equipment, surveillance cameras, etc., etc.,

      The slave owning control group seems to favor that system, total control, cheap labor, compliant slaves, total 24/7 surveillance, social credit system, facial recognition system, etc., the model for the future…..

      • Everything comes from China now….

        Amazon….just a CCP outlet for all their cheap stuff…..same as Walmart, Dollar stores, etc., etc.,

        Amazon…sells the Chinese junk at cost…killing off all the small retailers….makes all their profits from web services….subsidizing….selling junk through Amazon website….which is illegal….

        • Amazon….just a CCP outlet for all their cheap stuff…on every street now there is an Amazon truck…..$$$ leaving the country….buy local….

      • Starving well armed murcans outa their “wmd” arsenals one at a time to score the big one without a shot.

        Chinese musta learned from their failed 900 year occupation of Vietnam.

  9. The Eeevee For Less [which you can’t have]

    Uniparty Senator Brown of Ohio cries, ‘The U.S. must ban Chinese electric vehicles now, and stop a flood of Chinese government-subsidized cars. BYD sells an electric hatchback named the ‘Seagull’ for the equivalent of less than $10,000 USD.’

    https://tinyurl.com/bdcrc6ze

    The horror, the horror: Americans must not get access to dirt-cheap cars. Plus, subsidies (for battery plants, charging stations, and retail buyers) aren’t illegal when WE do it.

    ‘Allowing Chinese EVs on our roads could pose risks to our national security. The technology in EVs includes apps, sensors, and cameras. China should not have access to the data these technologies can collect.’

    HA HA HA — that’s a good one! As if every vehicle sold in the US today doesn’t include such spyware? As the Mozilla Foundation stated last year, ‘All 25 car brands we researched earned our *Privacy Not Included* warning label — making cars the official worst category of products for privacy that we have ever reviewed.’

    It never occurs to the vapid haircut ‘Sherrod Brown’ that grifters like him, and his legions of regulators, are the reason subsidized US EeeVees can’t compete with subsidized Chinese EeeVees. Useless eater ‘Sherrod Brown,’ incapable of producing anything other than a bowel movement, seeks a fourth Senate term this year.

    I’d like to meet his barber.

    • Hi Jim,
      It really cracks me up how the PTB get their hair all on fire whenever the subject of stuff made in China comes up – it might be spying on ‘muricans! Yeah, the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. really hate competition 😆.

    • For all the talk of globalism and climate change ready to kill us all if we don’t take drastic action by 10 years ago, it’s telling that they aren’t willing to throw Detroit and Seattle to the wolves to “save the climate.”

      If the ICE is really going to kill all life on Earth, then just ban it. If China can built EVs that are within the income of the average American, then bring ’em in.

      Sorry, but actions speak louder than Al Gore’s rhetoric.

      • Morning, RK!

        Yup; I’ve said the same. If there is an imminent existential crisis then there can be no justification for gratuitously consumptive (of resources and power) EVs such as the ones for sale now, especially Teslas and the ones made by Mercedes, etc. It’s both ridiculous and obscene. It is like rich people gorging themselves at a very high-end restaurant lecturing the people starving outside in the cold to “eat ze bugs” because we must “conserve resources.”

        If there really were an imminent “climate crisis,” then only the most basic EVs would allowed – if any vehicles were allowed at all.

        • They show nothing but contempt for the same human race that allows the parasites to skim off the top. One is reminded of Dr Strangelove’s solution to the doomsday situation. Once Kubrick figured out that doomsday should be the ultimate dark comedy, everything fell into place. But I’m certain there were think tanks and analysts studying the unique solution to the problem of how to survive a thermonuclear exchange, and came to the conclusion that Stranglove bunkers wouldn’t be a feasible solution. So they’re stuck with us, like it or not. And they’re stuck with oil and gas driving the transportation network too. Just enough plenty to keep the skim going. It’s getting harder to keep it going though, now that the rest of the planet is catching up to the Western lifestyle and there’s competition from the other families.

          https://youtu.be/9hETHHRJGv0?si=2A0V0upYY9zzTDJW

  10. It Is well aware Germany is a US colony controlled by US intelligence agencies. A colonial outpost where they can exercise more power.
    It doesnt help that german collectivist nature makes them like lemmings. They will follow new goverment directive without any thinking forward. US is currently waging silent war against them. Nord stream and green agenda are perfect for completly destroying their economy.
    They had car making tradition and momentum. Once they go EV they will loose all of that.
    Why buy expensive german EV with all parts from China. You might as well buy a cheaper Chinese one.

    • ‘Germany is a US colony controlled by US intelligence agencies.’ — Pupet

      ‘Republican senators are warning that the nation’s spy program is about to go “dark” and that much of the intelligence that goes into President [sic] Biden’s daily briefing could be lost.

      “I’m very disappointed in President Trump’s assessment of FISA. It is an essential tool. It may need to be amended but it is absolutely essential as everyone in the intelligence community will tell you,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

      ‘Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned that failure to pass the bill would cripple the nation’s intelligence gathering. “If we can’t spy on foreign tourists terrorists and foreign spies overseas, we’re out of the intelligence business,” he said.’ — the hill.com

      What goes around comes around. Democrats used FISA to spy on Trump. Now he’s punching back against America’s gangster shadow government. But corrupt RINOs are wailing.

      Death to FISA.

      • The difference is, 30 years later, that you can still buy a 1994 Infinti J30 that runs on the original engine/transmission…and drive it for about 350 miles after a five refueling stop.

        In 30 years (or less), these appliances (and others like them), the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV and Mercedes EQE will be not only a memory, but in landfills, and their batteries will be chemical and biologically hazardous waste.

        Still think your Governments have your best interests in mind???

        YOU are the carbon they want to recycle…

    • “Corpgov may be planning to restrict travel this summer due to their fake ‘climate change’”

      Getting a lot easier now…….. All cars since 2016 have geo fencing and geo timing capability built in….

      So… geo fencing…..car restricted from moving, period…just for 2 weeks…that turns into 2 years?….

      geo timing…..car can only be used for 2 hours, once a week?…..

      Pre 2016 cars?….mandate says they can’t be driven period…..

      • This will be interesting in the EV dystopia of Norway, where I think about 20 % of cars are EVs by now. Will there be a politically driven divide and conquer campaign where only EVs are allowed to drive during “climate lockdown”, or will politicians claim that EVs are also bad because climate change? I’m guessing it’ll be the latter.

  11. I sat in an Ioniq 6 at the auto show recently. Really well thought out device for those who have a routine that allows for this sort of thing.

    But there’s more than this which indicates a better approach to selling cars, like all the gasoline models that were there from Hyundai/Kia/Genesis.

    The Korean cars were the only ones that were displayed with all of the electronics available to mess with, save for the running gear and stereos. You could see the interior lighting, see how any electric liftgates worked, the screens, etc.

    Not so with the other manufacturers.

    This demonstrates how responsive H/K/G seems to be to the customer (dealers notwithstanding). The contrast was jarring.

    Take the Sonata sedan. No longer a catfish, due to American styling tastes.

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