Have you ever wondered why other car manufacturers copy designs and technology from Mercedes-Benz? If you own a Mercedes-Benz, you will start to wonder sooner or later. It all started when Kia Amanti came to the market over a decade ago. It looked like the Mercedes E-Class that entered the US market in 2003.
Then came the Hyundai Sonata. Whenever I spot that car, I am reminded of the Mercedes CLS, one of my favorite cars. Next came the Hyundai Genesis front/headlights, which resemble the 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 resembles Bently’s. Look at Hyundai Veloster looks very similar to Renault Megane. Hyundai Genesis coupe tail lights that look like the Mazda 3 etc.
Why does Hyundai copy Mercedes? Having worked on Mercedes and Hyundai cars, I know that Mercedes and Hyundai are different animals under the skin. For example, the Mercedes CLS came with SBC brakes, air suspension, a state-of-the-art safety restraint system, and comfort and featured that the Hyundai Sonata completely lacked.
This past weekend, I had another revelation. I was detailing a late model Kia Optima with a small scratch on the trunk lid. I removed the gas door and planned to head 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 I 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 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 the Kia gas lid in 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, and it looked the same. I was shocked.
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 color, at least to the naked eye. I should have taken the car to a body shop with a spectrophotometer machine. But you know what? I will let Kia do that. Never mind, it seems like they already did.
Hyundai and Kia’s vehicles have improved significantly. Their quality has improved drastically over the years. Many of you may disagree with me, but having worked on Honda and Toyotas, the Kia and Hyundai are undoubtedly 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. Also, the safety features of Mercedes-Benz can’t be compared to most cars. Some may say many 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 warns drivers of an imminent accident, pre-safe braking, Distronic plus, night view assist, etc. Regarding safety, there is a huge gap between Mercedes and other brands. Mercedes Benz prevents accidents and, if necessary, protects. Japanese/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.
Hyundai needed some 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 its 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 the 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 design style. Their models vary significantly and don’t have a signature or identification. To manufacturers such as Hyundai/Kia, I would say to be yourself because an original design is always worth more than a copy.
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