More often than not we find ourselves at a crossroads. A crossroads of choices, and if you make the wrong choice, you will probably, in all likelihood, be left with the consequences; albeit it good or bad. With the local launch of the new Mercedes-Benz B-Class another choice had been placed in front of consumers: to B-Class, or not to B-Class…
Over the course of three days I’ve spent nearly as much as 12 hours at Mercedes-Benz Culemborg; just observing, taking in. This was to be the big Jamboree. The arrival of the face-lifted and updated B-Class to Mercedes-Benz Century City, Culemborg, and Claremont. It took center stage on the showroom floor. When you enter through the doors you are greeted by a B250 adorned in an AMG kit. What you see, is what you get with this car. There is a sense of honesty about it. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what it was, but there was a sense of luring about it. It kept pulling me in.
This was then the vehicle the Jamboree was to welcome. A homecoming, if you will, of a car that has been underrated and undervalued by a very vocal motoring community (yes, us South Africans can be very opinionated when it comes to cars). What Mercedes-Benz did was to give life to a vehicle that has been playing with the scraps of its sales charts. And perhaps the worst fate that has been bestowed upon the B-Class, was the numerous stereotypes it had accumulated since it first came to the market in the early part of 2000. If the B-Class had a soul it would have undoubtedly hung itself.
Those days are gone; a thing of the past. The B-Class grew up. It’s more in line with the latest offerings from the Three-pointed Star. It’s cleaner, sleeker, purposeful, inviting, and dare I say it, a heck of a lot younger. The nip and tuck was more than just the ironing out of wrinkles. It was the injection of new life, and the air of revival was all over this car.
The work done to promote the new B-Class was also undertaken by the dealerships involved. I could see the work put in by the entire staff, making sure that everything was planned right down to the T. As clients came in, salesman and –women were always at hand; ready to assist. On Thursday and Friday it was a bit slow. I sort of did expect it, simply because people are still at work. Clients did come through those doors and some did sign on the dotted line, but it was quiet. I was patiently waiting on Saturday. The big day of the Jamboree. The day when the sales staff won’t be able to keep up and the caterers having to work overtime to get everything done for the hungry, waiting clients.
And Saturday came. Whenever you glance over the showroom floor, a new face had popped up. One moment you’re still processing the memory of a family in your mind, the next you have to deal with a retired couple looking for a decent set of wheels. And all the while as this was going on, all eyes kept coming back to what has taken center stage. The one vehicle the Jamboree was intent on giving the limelight to. The big attraction, the showstopper, the Merc of the week: the B-Class.
I would hear people whispering to their spouses and/or life-partners, asking for confirmation as to whether or not that was the new B-Class. It reaffirmed my belief that the new B-Class is a definite step up from the model it replaces. It’s a continuous step in the right direction for a brand intent on always bringing the best package to market.
One couple came to check out the B-Class. And while the man was having a talk with the salesman, the woman got into the car. What she expected I do not know, but the astonishment and surprise on her face when she realised that it actually was a B-Class, was priceless. The car blew her away. She completely ignored her partner when he called her to have a listen to what the salesman had to say. This is a woman captivated by a vehicle that, only last year, not many people would have given a second glance at. Let alone giving it a thought.
Covering both petrol and diesel variants, the new B-Class is something of an all-round package. It offers something for the matured driver, the young at heart. The mover, the shaker, the adventurer, the explorer. Whether you’re working in an office, or a lab, or the outdoors, or if your job is to have weekends away with family and friends, the package does not come much sweeter than this. And with the financial packages on offer it actually is much easier to buy into Mercedes-Benz.
Remember I mentioned the crossroads at the beginning? If you are at that crossroads, consider this: the road less traveled is the road most enjoyed. And as you embark on that journey, the Three-pointed Star will go with you.
*For more pictures on the Jamboree, visit the Shootout Facebook page.