Mercedes-Benz has long been one of the most enviable car brands in the business. They have reputations for fun, luxury, safety, technology, and good looks. Most of their vehicles are well made and sell even better. This is in spite of many times being more expensive than competing offerings from BMW and Audi.
One of the primary ways automotive companies pack on the profits is through options. For a company like Toyota that comes from upgrades like leather and a navigation system. But luxury automakers go much further. Their seats offer massage. The vehicles are covered in cameras and sensors. And now there’s this:
That’s pretty impressive but automotive standards. The technology is called “mbrace” and is a part of a subscription service Mercedes offers. The service costs $280 a year and many of the features in this ad cost an additional $14 a month or another $168 a year. So you’re looking at $448 a year to enjoy these features. Not a terrible situation when you think about a $60,000 or more vehicle.
But there’s just one problem. Every single feature in this commercial has been on your smartphone for at least 3 years. And unlike “mbrace” you can actually take your phone out of the car and use it everywhere. Due to safety restrictions many of the “mbrace” features probably don’t work when the car is in motion. While it’s not advised, your phone certainly works when in motion. Not to mention the fact that your data plan is cheaper than this Mercedes system.
So maybe then mbrace isn’t targeted at the smartphone crowd. That would be hard to believe considering the youthfulness of the actor in the commercial and the types of things he apparently needs to do from his car. So I ask then, who the hell is this system for?