Over at autoextemist.com, my colleague Peter DeLorenzo often rails against what he considers the democratization of luxury. The point being that in the automotive world, there once was a notion of what luxury meant, and that tended to have more than a little something to do with the notion of exclusivity, not everybody.
One of DeLorenzo’s targets in this regard is Mercedes. As he wrote last November: “Let’s not forget that once upon a time, when it wasn’t so obsessed with being the all things to all people car company that it is today, Mercedes-Benz was considered to be a maker of exclusive luxury cars. That was back in the day of the imperious - and perfectly rendered - ad theme ‘Engineered Like No Other Car in the World,’ which came with the belief that driving a Mercedes was truly something special and was coveted by the well-heeled who could actually afford one and the rest of us with aspirations of wheeling that level of luxury some day.”
That criticism came to mind when I saw an option that Mercedes is offering to its German customers of the new C-Class, the “Air-Balance” package. This package consists of an air filter, ionizer and a “fragrance system.”
Said system is based on 15-ml glass flasks of scent. The available fragrances are “Freeside Mood,” “Nightlife Mood,” “Downtown Mood,” and “Sports Mood.” They are housed in the glovebox, then wafted into the interior of the car.
As this is a Mercedes C-Class, it seems somewhat downmarket. But then it should be noted that a similar system is available for the S-Class, and that car is nothing but upscale.
But all in all, I can’t help but think of this.