Originally Posted by Efthreeoh
I'm not sure why you call it "misguided concepts of brand prestige". It is not like Mercedes and BMW sold their economic models in the US from the get go. Mercedes never did; BMW you could say the high-end luxury part caught up with the high prices somewhere in the mid 1980's. It's what is expected of the two brands in the US. The economic models, the BMW 318ti comes to mind, never sold well here. Mercedes and BMW made their respective beds (selling high-margin, high-end sedans), which they now must lie in, in my opinion.
Despite the badges; a low-price (relatively) well-built FWD sedan are offered by almost every manufacturer who sells cars in the US. I’d by numerous other models at $10K less than the CLS and have just as nice a car to drive.
They can't survive and grow as a company if they stick to the old notion that these badges force them to sell a limited product range. Even more so if that notion means that they can't or shouldn't sell more affordable, mass produced, high volume, cash cow models (like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A2 and A3, and Mercedes A-Class and B-Class).
Businesses have to continuously evolve to survive and flourish. Take Porsche, for example. Along the same lines, their old brand image meant that they shouldn't have made SUVs, yet look how beneficial that's been for the company; the overwhelming majority of Porsche sales are Cayennes.
I personally think the idea is unrealistic. And in the end, the more choices the buyer has, the better - period.