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Confusion at Mercedes

The EQ sub-brand must die

It’s probably not just us who find it difficult to keep track of the various Mercedes models. To be honest: We also tend to have zero interest in it (apart from maybe a G-Class, but that’s exactly what it’s been called since 1979). But we can imagine a Monday morning in a big Benz showroom, with the saleswomen standing in rows and having to rattle off the names. Even just for the pure electric cars: EQA, EQB, EQC, EQE, EQE SUV, EQS, EQS SUV, EQV. And if you can’t tell the difference between the GLA SUV and the EQA, you have to go home and study price lists.

In the foreseeable future, everything will be simpler: Mercedes is scrapping all models that don’t cost six figures, starting with the A- and B-Class. From 2024, according to a report in the always well-informed “Bild” newspaper, the EQ designations will now also be dropped. An EQS, this bar of soap, will then become an S-Class. Although EQS and S-Class don’t have that much to do with each other now, apart from size and price. But the strategists in Stuttgart are still puzzling over what the current EQS will be called: the abbreviation “e” at the back is currently still occupied by the plug-in hybrids.

But it is astonishing. A lot of money is being spent by some manufacturers on a more or less decent nomenclature in the model range. Ok, not everywhere, BMW simply counts from 1 to 8, adds something at the back, and that’s it; Peugeot simply does something with a 0 in the middle. Mercedes treated itself to the EQ sub-brand from 2016, which was probably not really cheap either, everything has to be secured in every direction, legally. And then it was blown up in terms of marketing. It was for nothing, EQ has to die again. But we are curious to see what will come next, what such an EQE may be called in the future – if no one notices that the E-Class is also an electric car, we will have a problem anyway.

But we know this from Stuttgart: they’ve been wrong more than once in the past. For example, with the diesel. The simple “D” became a “TD” when the turbo came along. Later it became “CDI”, already a three-digit number, but still comprehensible, since “Common-Rail Direct Injection” was simply an abbreviation for the technology used. This was followed by Bluetec. A pure marketing fancy. It was neither “Blue” (Adblue was still something for trucks at that time) nor “Tec”, because nothing distinguished the Bluetec from the CDI. The intention was to flatter the USA, to position the diesel better there; after all, gas-oil propulsion was still only something for truckers. And then came: Dieselgate. The affair dragged the company’s reputation down deeper than ever. Mercedes stood there embarrassed. Campaigns were launched, records set, pomp and circumstance glorified – and what good did it do? Zero. Rather: sub-zero. Which fits in with the EQ sub-brand.

Well, they came to their senses. From then on, the diesel was simply called “d” again. But the simplification is now taking its toll: “e” used to stand for petrol hybrids (“de” was then diesel hybrids, Daimler can’t do without complexity after all). But this no longer fits when the ex-EQs return to the traditional nomenclature. So what can be done? Sit out the great confusion until then, when the internal combustion engine will be buried anyway? That’s what it will certainly come down to.

Our tip: simply put the E after the model letter. An EQE 580 then simply becomes an SE 580. By the way, this was done before, when petrol engines were still carburettors and injection technology was the hot trend. Progress was recognised on the E. So why not do it again today? A charming bow to one’s own past? But we are sure: nobody in Stuttgart is interested in such things. Unfortunately.

And why do we show a 300 SL here (by the way, this is the Fangio car, chassis number 198.042.8500083)? Because there had been confusion at Mercedes before, roadster and gullwing had the same name. But at least not at the same time. And then there was the 300 SLR – but you may only read this story if you can list all the Mercedes with C and G, in descending order.

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