Don’t judge a book by its cover, but we judge cars by the cover all the time.
It’s called branding. Consider this week’s comparison between the Mercedes CLA250 and the Buick Regal.
You’re already snickering, aren’t you?
The latest entry in the entry-level luxury class, the CLA250 is traffic-stopping, jaw-dropping, mom-I-gotta-have-it-now gorgeous (see, I’m judging). Everyone’s heard of the CLA because everyone remembers the Super Bowl ad that promised that we didn’t have to sell our soul to the devil, aka Willem Dafoe, to afford the unaffordable Mercedes brand. At last, luxury for all. Merc for the masses. The 30 grand Mercedes.
Buick, meanwhile, is still stuck making I-can’t-believe-it’s-a-Buick ads. “Sure doesn’t look like a Buick,” says granny of a red Buick Regal GS. Such is the penance Buick pays for years of mailed-in designs for the blue-haired set. In a recent survey by Strategic Vision, 48 percent of luxury buyers said they would consider buying a Mercedes (second only to BMW’s 51 percent). Buick? Just 11 percent. Ouch. It’s a long way back from irrelevance.