Mercedes-Maybach has an alliterative ring to it. Like Rolls-Royce. Or Range Rover. A hyphen is nice although there was never one in Armstrong Siddeley. But Stuttgart-Sindelfingen’s “Simple and transparent nomenclature to provide customers with better orientation”?
I don’t think so.
Not much is simple at Mercedes-Benz. Take the titles at the introduction of the new names. Ola Källenius, member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for Marketing & Sales. Dr Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing Communications for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. They said:
“The model designation is always an acronym made up of between one and three upper-case letters. The different types of engine are indicated by a lower-case letter. The system centres around the five core model series, A, B, C, E and S, which will continue to be used to provide orientation for our customers. In the case of the model designations for the SUVs, in a tribute to the legendary G Class, all SUV models will in the future have the first two letters "GL" in their name. The "G" here denotes the car's lineage. The "L" is a letter that appears time and time again over the history of Mercedes-Benz. It is a linking letter that makes the model designations easier to remember and easier to pronounce; one that is familiar from the legendary SL, for example, or from the more recent CLS and CLA. It is followed by the third letter, which indicates the relationship to the relevant core model series. In specific terms:
GLA = GL A-Class
GLC = GL C-Class; previously GLK
GLE = GL E-Class; previously M-Class or ML
GLE Coupé = GL E-Class Coupé
GLS = GL S-Class; previously GL
It doesn’t get any easier with 4-door coupés.
“The system is constructed along similar lines. The first two letters, "CL", denote the origin, the third letter the link to one of the core model series: in other words CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, or CLS and CLS Shooting Brake. From 2016 on the Roadsters will all include "SL" in their names to denote their origin, with the third letter again the link to one of the core model series. The SLK therefore becomes the new SLC. As in the case of the G, the SL retains its designation as hitherto, in recognition of its iconic status.
“In a development paralleling that of the model series designations, the different types of engines will also be given new designations. These provide clear orientation and are also shorter than the designations used until now. The boot lids will in future feature lower-case letters, whose meaning is as follows:
c for "compressed natural gas"
(Natural Gas Drive until now)
d for "diesel"
(BlueTEC and CDI until now)
e for "electric"
(PLUG-IN HYBRID, BlueTEC PLUG-IN HYBRID and
Electric Drive until now)
f for "fuel cell"
(F-CELL until now)
h for "hybrid"
(HYBRID and BlueTEC HYBRID until now)
“As has been the case until now, there will be no suffix for the petrol models. The defining and established designation 4MATIC for our all-wheel-drive vehicles will remain unchanged and, indeed, will be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary next year. Given the way that Mercedes-Benz has evolved into the leading brand for all-wheel drive, 4MATIC will in future play an even more important role in our model portfolio. As a result of a steadily growing demand, we will in future be adding further models to the all-wheel drive segment.”
They can’t even let Mercedes-Maybach stand alone. It will be the Mercedes-Maybach S600. The Maybach Maybach (in China above where Mercedes expects to sell the new model ) was not a success and was discontinued two years ago. Rolls-Royce doesn’t need letters and figures. “Phantom” is quite enough. Just as “Silver Ghost” was enough. Austin managed with Counties. “Cambridge, Somerset, Devon, Dorset.” Morris got by with “Cowley and Oxford”. Okay names get nicked. Remember Singer Vague, Humber Septic and the misbegotten “Starion” when Mitsubishi tried to rival “Mustang”.
Still it’s a pity to consign Karl Benz (1944-1929) to oblivion. He deserves better. He was more of a car inventor than Wilhelm Maybach (1846-1929), who was big on engines but developed the carburettor. Benz’s greatest claim to fame was through his business partner, investor and beautiful wife Bertha (1840-1944) (below) whose pioneer drive from Mannheim to Pforzheim (with two children in August 1888) made history.