‘Premium’ is a hard thing to quantify but whatever it is, car brands want it. Any brand that achieves premium status in the eyes of the public instantly gains the right to charge more money for its products than mainstream rivals.
The hope of these brands have is that customers will eventually be happy to pay a premium to own cars carrying that particular badge. The question I have is, are they really worth the extra money?
Back in the day, when you said you had “a Mercedes,” it put a certain image in people’s head. One of class with a slight whiff of luxury. Now, brands have managed to water down their values so much, that it’s really hard to justify paying a premium for ‘premium.’ Besides, what does premium even mean?
There are lots of mainstream cars with more or less the same tech level as premium brands with comparably looks, upmarket feeling interiors and equally strong performance and guess what? They all cost less and and as far as I can see, there really is no downside to owning one.
I mean, owning a Mercedes nowadays could mean you drive a miserly A160 CDI with a Renault-developed diesel engine. Similar to that found in a Dacia. It’s not just Mercedes that’s letting the premium side down. BMW, Jaguar and Porsche aren’t far behind. All seem to be ‘selling out’ the quality of engineering behind the soft-touch plastics, nicely weighted switches and soft leathers.
I only use Mercedes as the example here since it’s the brand I’ve dealt with most recently.
I had the opportunity to drive the ‘All-NEW’ Ford Focus last year. A car that I enjoyed so much, I went back and bought one. The model I was given came with everything you could ever want or need from a car. From a heated steering wheel to active safety gadgets. It didn’t “ooze quality,” because it wasn’t meant to feel overtly premium. You’d really have to have your head up your ass to realistically need more car than that.
I was bitterly disappoint on my recent test drive and review of the Mercedes A-Class. It just didn’t shout ‘premium’ like I thought.
The Audi A3, Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1-Series are clearly being given a run for their money with mainstream brands upping their game
Is it really worth paying extra for a premium brand just so you feel better about yourself?
I say it isn’t. If I asked you the same question even 10 years ago, I’d probably would have got a different answer. Not only are Ford’s latest models awesome and distinctive to look at but they now come with pretty good engineering too. Plus, they’re not pretending to be something they’re not.
The question I ask myself is complex at best. To find a conclusion would require alot more page space to fully explore my thoughts on the subject. I just wanted to give you some food for thought and let you leave your comments below.