Have you ever wondered why other car manufacturers copy designs and technology from Mercedes-Benz? If you own a Mercedes-Benz sooner or later you will start to wonder. For me, it all started when Kia Amanti came to the market over a decade ago. It just happened to look a lot like the Mercedes E-Class that came in US market in 2003.
Why do other makes copy Mercedes-Benz?
Then came the Hyundai Sonata. Every time I spot that car I am reminded of the Mercedes CLS, one of my favorite cars of all time. Next came Hyundai Genesis front/headlights which resemble Mercedes C Class W204.
There is a common belief among car enthusiasts that Hyundai copies other car designs. Look at the Hyundai Genesis logo which looks almost identical to that of Bently. Look at Hyundai Veloster looks very similar to Renault Megane. Hyundai Genesis coupe tails lights that look like the Mazda 3 etc.
Why does Hyundai copy Mercedes? Having worked on both Mercedes and Hyundai cars, I know that under the skin Mercedes and Hyundai are totally different animals. For example, Mercedes CLS came with SBC brakes, air suspension, state of the art safety restraint system, comfort, features that the Hyundai Sonata completely lacked.
This past weekend, I had another revelation. I was detailing a late model Kia Optima that had a small scratch on the trunk lid. I took off the gas door and was planning to head over to the auto parts stores to find a close enough pre-mixed touch-up paint. Ideally, I should have bought the custom mixed spray paint online but didn’t want to wait a few days for the paint to arrive. This is a Kia, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
After removing the gas lid my next step was to go look at some paint samples at the local auto parts store. As I got close to the gold Mercedes R-Class that I was driving (still holding Kia gas lid on my hand) I noticed the gas door matched the color of the Mercedes-Benz quite a bit. Next, I placed the gas lid next to the car, it looked exactly the same. I was shocked.
Well instead of heading to the auto parts store to find matching paint, I headed to my collection of Mercedes-Benz paint. Picked up Mercedes 723 touch up paint, (which is the code of Mercedes-Benz gold color). Applied some paint to the back of the gas lid. To my surprise, I couldn’t tell the difference. I was shocked. It was the same exact color. At least to the naked eye. I should have taken the car to a body shop that has spectrophotometer machine. But you know what? I will let Kia do that. Never mind, it seems like they already did.
To be honest Hyundai and Kia vehicles have improved significantly. Their quality has improved drastically over the years. I know many of you may disagree with me, but having worked on Honda and Toyotas, the Kia and Hyundai are without a doubt in the same category.
No matter how much Hyundai/Kia tries to copy Mercedes-Benz, they can not match the luxury and comfort that Mercedes-Benz offers. Not only that but also the safety features found on Mercedes-Benz can’t be compared to most cars. Some of you may say that a lot of cars rank well on the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration test. Most drivers and even Mercedes-Benz owners aren’t aware of the technology installed on these cars. For example stability control or pre-safe technology which warns drivers there is an imminent accident, pre-safe braking, Distronic plus, night view assist etc. When it comes to safety there is a huge gap between Mercedes and other brands. Mercedes Benz prevents accidents and if necessary protect. Japenese/Korean/Domestic vehicles only focus on protecting. The majority of vehicles don’t have the technology to prevent accidents. At least not anywhere close to the technology when compared to Mercedes-Benz cars.
Honestly, Hyundai needed a little bit of help (and ideas) 10 or 20 years ago. But with Hyundai/Kia taking a fair market share, it is time for the company to establish their own identity. You can’t continue to copy other manufacturers or reverse engineer 10-year-old Japanese engines. Then brag how your Hyundai Genesis has smaller panel tolerances than that of Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Let’s not be too harsh on Hyundai/Kia. To give Hyundai/Kia a break, I have to admit they are not the only brand that copies Mercedes-Benz. The problem is that other brands do not have their own design style. Their models vary significantly and don’t have a signature or identification. To manufacturers such as Hyundai/Kia, I would say, be yourself because an original design is always worth more than a copy.
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