Branding strategies

AMG, Brabus and Maybach: a Delicious Decision

Mercedes-Benz has made huge investments in its image. The resulting divisions are beautiful examples of brand management

Automotive branding can be tricky for large companies. Building a strong image makes it easier for people to trust it but, over the years, it can also become a self-imposed obstacle: any attempt of participating in new, different market segments will be met with skepticism and, as a result, poor sales. Mercedes-Benz, just like many of its competitors, has dealt with that problem using the strategy of multiple sub-brands.

What sub-brands does Mercedes-Benz use?

In short, the smart brand takes care of urban cars; AMG specializes at high-performance models; Maybach is in charge of luxury variations; and the upcoming EQ division is taking care of the fully electric market. “In short” is a valid expression here because working with multiple brands goes way beyond simply dividing the existing line-up in groups and giving each one its own special name. This type of brand management requires giving each division its own identity while keeping all of them related to the parent brand’s.

The EQ brand is still taking its first steps in the market. Smart, on the other hand, works with models which are different enough to participate in a completely separate segment. AMG and Maybach are the Mercedes brands which work the most closely and, as a consequence, may cause confusion. The good part is that, if you truly enjoy cars, this confusion is simply beautiful to work through and understand.

Let’s work through it and understand it, then!

The AMG treatment sets aside Mercedes-Benz’s signature flair for elegance and makes room for the purest expression of sportiness. Performance-oriented design, more aggressive visual details, enhanced powertrain and attention to details enough as to define how the engine sound invades the cabin. On the other hand, it can be said that Maybach does the opposite: it sets even more spotlights on the finesse which has always characterized the models designed by the Affalterbach automaker.

AMG wheels, for instance, use black colour and simple design to convey a solid, intense appearance suitable to performance cars. Maybach wheels use shiny silver trim and delicate spokes to evoke an image of classic sophistication. Besides that, the sporty branch uses its connection with automotive tuning and offers a long list of AMG accessories which can even be purchased for regular Mercedes-Benz models.

When it comes to mechanics, the sporty division works by making the car’s dynamic behaviour more intense and using the electronic architecture to give the driver more freedom to control driving parameters. The high-luxury counterpart works to suppress any feature of the car’s dynamic behaviour which could bother the owner and invests in ostensive signs of luxury here and there. Signature components of each one are AMG ceramic brakes, one of the best systems available, and Maybach’s champagne flutes on the rear seat.

What if there was a third element?

Now, if you thought that both brands were all you could get regarding Mercedes-Benz customization, there is something else to consider: aftermarket tuning. Brabus is one of the most popular companies in this segment and such reputation came from decades of expertise at understanding Mercedes’ ethos and designing multiple ways to enhance it while designing yet another visual identity.

The long list of Brabus parts comprises several aspects of car tuning and, of course, has specific items for each car model. Notable examples are Brabus Monoblock wheels, with exclusive design, and Brabus exhaust system, which makes the engine sound even more noticeable than in a regular AMG car. However, the tuner can also go further if the customer wishes: Brabus ride control makes the car even more responsive, which is a perfect fit to the performance increase it usually applies.

How can I spot those differences on the street?

A great way to visualize these differences is by taking them to practice. For example, in the GLS, Maybach body kit, paint, and wheels replace all traces of sportiness and off-road ruggedness and make the car look like a limousine on stilts. Parallel to that, there are not one, but several Brabus G Wagon models: each one features a different level of overall customization from mere visual tweaks to the limited-edition Rocket 900, a fully-revamped G-Class whose performance is comparable to that of supercars.

It is easy to understand that entering this level of automotive customization implies dealing with rather high price tags. However, we are talking about nothing but the best materials, products and experience being used to enhance the Mercedes-Benz image, which is already quite strong by itself, in three completely different ways. Now that you are prepared to spot those differences on the street, let us know: which line of customization would be the best match for you?