Baby Benz’ Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Dwyane Thomas

This year is the 25th anniversary of the original Mercedes-Benz 190 which is branded as the baby Benz in the range. The Mercedes-Benz 190 may be little but it has been able to make big changes in Stuttgart and across the entire automotive industry.

Juergen Hubbert, branded as “Dr. Mercedes” and former boss of the Teutonic brand recalled that the launching of the baby Mercedes led to an intense debate. It should be noted that back in the 1980s, the definition of luxury car only applies to the likes of the big Benz S-Class and slightly smaller sized E-Class. Any size smaller than the accepted size for luxury cars are already sacrilegious to the segment. However that was before the wake of the second Mideast oil crisis. When the oil prices started increasing the consumers started demanding for more fuel efficient and smaller vehicles—that’s when the baby Mercedes Benz 190 was born.

It is not actually surprising why some folks at Mercedes Benz where afraid of producing baby Benz. First of all, Mercedes Benz is a brand that is renowned for producing luxury vehicles and high quality Mercedes parts such as its range of Mercedes clutch and creating an economical, small size Benz is something that will definitely affect brand image. Luckily for Mercedes Benz since it turned out that its customers cared more for quality rather than the mere luxury features that Mercedes vehicles possess so it was not hard for the German brand when it finally launched its baby Mercedes Benz 190 in the market.

Actually what Mercedes Benz did was to downsize the S-Class and create a small version basing on its concept. The 190 is a far cry from the luxury Mercedes vehicles that people have for years associated with the brand. As a fact, the most basic 190 models were equipped with cloth seats that come with mechanical adjusters less the electronic and mechanical particulars that are normally associated with a Mercedes vehicle. The wood and leather used yielded to inexpensive plastic. And that’s not all! The exterior design was so clunky and awkward. If you think that is worst just wait till you see the interior layout which was unpleasantly inefficient. It has very little or no legroom for back seat passengers. For a luxury brand to create just a dismal baby may be considered rather ironic.

Despite the flaws that the baby Benz possess it has become an immediate hit with consumers around the world. The explanation for this is quite obvious; Mercedes Benz has build a reputation rooted on quality and performance which means that whatever vehicle it will produce buyers will always have this notion that if it’s Mercedes then it must be a quality car. Luckily for the baby Benz since its parent has built for it quite a reputation which helps it to survive.

The baby Benz may lack all the luxury features that his other big siblings possess but it has been successful in demonstrating that size should never be made as an issue in measuring a luxury car. Baby Benz has led the most dramatic change that the automotive industry has ever seen. Back in the early ‘80s its possible to count the marque of various models on one hand but today you will surely run short of fingers and toes with the wide range of models that Mercedes Benz has including the classic S and E, the 190’s descendant the C-Class, the SLK, SL, and SLR, the CLK and CL and the list goes on.

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