When photos of coming new cars are “leaked” on the Internet, there’s a good chance the manufacturer was somehow responsible. Nothing triggers blog coverage and media attention in the car industry more than photos of a yet-to-be-released new car.
Make that car the flagship sedan of a best-selling luxury brand in the United States, and odds are, the leak isn’t a mistake, but a well-orchestrated publicity grab. That’s pure conjecture, of course, but it’s what I’d do if I was in charge of marketing at a car company.
What you see above is the “leaked” image of the officially still-veiled 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Earlier this week Mercedes-Benz reported its highest second-quarter start in history, with April sales of 26,157, a 4.4 percent increase over April 2012. The company boasts year-to-date sales totals of 92,822. Mercedes-Benz is chasing BMW’s year-to-date sales of 107,968 vehicles. The new S-Class, on its own, won’t do much to narrow the gap, but publicity and excitement around the brand certainly could. Why not coordinate a leaked image of the beautiful flagship and reap the benefits of the resulting free marketing?
Car and Driver says Mercedes-Benz actually uploaded the photo to its Austrian consumer homepage. It was quickly taken down, but not before a French blog captured the image and the circulation began. This comes after M-B teased the interior of the new S-Class, which it seems has taken a page out of the Maybach playbook. Think massaging, heated and ventilated seats, heated armrests, a perfume dispenser, a folding table and more leather and wood than a cattle farm in the Amazon rainforest. Oddly enough, the “First Class Rear” option, which includes features meant for the traveling businessperson, includes an integrated telephone handset. That seems like a quaint 1980s option, doesn’t it? What self-respecting businessman or woman wouldn’t have a smartphone available? How curious.
The car is expected to officially debut at this month’s 2013 Hamburg Auto Show and go on sale later this year.
What’s the most luxurious car you’ve ever driven or ridden in?