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IDEA, ORIGINALITY AND SPIRIT

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Written by Bankole Singerr

Taking a look at the automobile industry of the 21st Century, I wonder why the God has given such abilities to fashion such innovative technology to us.

Many times (very many times), I’ve meandered through cars in traffic to behold an automotive masterpiece and I must confess, I’ve driven kilometres off my intended route just to satisfy my lust to peruse aesthetic detail on a car. I’ve seen masterpieces so beautiful that the euphoria I get from beholding them nearly brings tears to my eyes. The unexplainable joy I feel when I see some cars makes me imagine what we will drive in heaven.

Thanks to Mr. Carl Benz and Mr. Gottlieb Daimler; the brains behind the car. They gave birth to limitless intelligence. They made history by inventing the automobile in the year 1886. As a result of their invention, we now have outstanding automobile technology, not just beautiful and elegant, but efficient and effective.

I hurt when I meet people who are unappreciative of the depth of ideas and imagination put into the creation of cars. Though as much of a car freak as I am, I am a critique of the automotive industry but I do that constructively. I know that one of the most important factors to a successful brand presence is originality in its design, quality and dynamic ideas. Just like my father says “you really cannot copy an original idea”. Therefore, allow me extract two concepts from the previous sentence and relate them to automobile technology; ‘Idea’ on the one hand and ‘Originality’ on the other. These two concepts, when perfectly synergized, borne perfection. I shall now explain.

I’ve picked two top automobile brands to dissect. The German made Mercedes Benz and the BMW. These are probably the most compatible car brands to compare. They were born into the same country, under the same conditions. The Mercedes Benz was created to satisfy a need and has worked tirelessly to satisfy them. Carl Benz and Daimler answered a question and after their explanation, they were given a standing ovation at the brilliance of their answer. Based on their creation, the world has seen outstanding innovation(s) in the automobile industry. They created a machine, suitable for moving people and cargo from their point A’s to their point B’s. From that response, any car with an emblem of a star in a circle is a product of their sweat and blood; and therefore has a spirit which gives it Life. The car is a product of intellect, intellect which gives her an attitude and drama. An attitude which earns her respect. Respect which warrants her pride and all these synchronized make her a being. A being that is alive.

The BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke, or in English, Bavarian Motor Works), is an independent German company and manufacturer of cars and motorcycles. BMW was once the world’s biggest premium car maker and was the parent company of Rolls-Royce and Rover. The company’s current tagline in English “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. The original German slogan is Freude am Fahren” translates to “Joy in Driving”.

A BMW is an unexplainably proud and elegant road machine. Its attitude is like a man; rude, extremely wealthy and extremely good looking. You have every reasonable justification to hate him for his pride and condescending tone. In fact, you might claim to hate him but he is so good looking. Also, in addition to his intelligence, his perfectly loud and exquisite way of showing off the beauty of wealth keeps you waiting for his arrival. You always imagine yourself in his shoes. It seems as though you fall in love every time you see him. If he ever reaches out to you, you will melt like butter.

If you agree with my description of a BMW, we can infer that the BMW has an attitude. She has drama because you love watching her show herself off and gesticulate at her welcome into the drop off zone or on the road. She has a commendable measure of originality in her idea and design. I’ll describe her as ‘what blows my mind!’ But does she touch my heart? An absurd example: Dapo Banji, popularly called D’Banj, one of Africa’s most celebrated artists has charisma. He has swagger, you like his music (may be old music. Lol!). In short, he blows your mind. But can you compare the effect he has on you to the effect the late Nelson Mandela presences would have on you? Amidst a crowd cheering his presence, he looks at you from a distance, smiles at you and waves. He just gave you 10 seconds of his life. How would you feel knowing the father of Africa saw you and recognized you amidst the crowd? I’m sorry, but they do not ignite the same flame in me. That’s how it feels when you have the opportunity to behold and drive the father of cars. Still not convinced? Let the facts speak. The two cars I’m bringing to the table are the 1975 Mercedes Benz 200E W123 and the BMW 5-Series E12.

Benz 200E

Benz 200E

BMW 5 Series (E12)

BMW 5 Series (E12)

 

A total of 2,696,915 Mercedes Benz 200E’s were built in one factory in Germany. On the other hand, 699,094 5-Series BMW’s were built in over 10 locations around the globe, including Africa such as Germany, Iran, South Africa, Malaysia, Cairo-Egypt, China, Russia, Brazil and a few other countries. More factories of production means better proximity to potential buyers and more accessibility for vehicle sampling (factors that matter in marketing and sales). However, the Benz was so successful that it sold 1,997,821units more than the BMW. More sales means more demand, more demand means higher preference, high preference means better success. The 5-Series’ lowest power option based on engine displacement was 1.8 litres with 4 cylinders. Its highest performance model had a 3.5 litre straight 6 cylinder engine. On fuel economy, the BMW was more efficient, and on performance basis, the Mercedes Benz was faceless. The BMW triumphed over its counterpart but more Benz cars were sold. However, vehicle accessory and instruments wise, the Mercedes Benz had the upper hand. It was equipped with power windows, rear window lock switch (for child safety), central door locking, prestart timer controlled engine heater (for diesel engines only), sunroof, air-conditioning, head lamp wipers, cruise control and power steering. Its BMW contemporary was decked a notch less with sunroof, air-conditioning, power steering, central locking and power windows.

Never mind, I won’t bore you with the technical details. But generally, the Benz was the favourite of the two vehicles. It was used more and was rated a better executive vehicle than its German counterpart and as earlier said, sold almost 2,000,000 units more than BMW. That’s more than enough spirits to make a ghost town.

Bringing to the table, the contemporaries of both car brands in the year 2016, lets discuss two flag carriers of the two German manufacturers. The Mercedes Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series. If they were both lawyers in a court, the Mercedes will always speak first as it was called to the ‘bar’ before its opposing counsel. Am I safe to say, “The S-Class is a better car”? Yes I am! Winning the award for ‘Best Luxury Car’ against the BMW 7-Series and having rocket ship security features in its top range S65 like the innovation in Active Safety (accident avoidance, Passive Safety (collision protection) and Holistic Safety (integration of both active features and passive safety features), the S-65 is also a beautiful vehicle. Aesthetically, it’s good-looking, well kempt and mature. Somewhat like a handsome military general (However, I hate the sport S65. Excessively vulgar and too much in search of attention). The BMW is a beautiful car. Less spacious than its counterpart; it provides a sportier look and feel. This doesn’t mean it is faster than the Benz. The Benz will hit 60mph (106km/h) from a standstill in 4.4 seconds while the BMW 7-Series will hit 60mph in 4.6 seconds. That’s race car fast! They both have a top speed of 155 mph.

The BMW’s lowest trim is price tagged at $75,295 against the S-Class’ lowest trim edition which sets you back by £88,955. The highest trims for the S-Class and the 7-Series are both in the $100,000’s depending on personal requirements, etc. Just know that if you really prefer either of both, you will always wonder what the other could possibly have over yours. The BMW comes with some security and safety features that the S-Class also has. Features like ESP*, TCM*, ABS, SRS Airbags*, Crumble zones* and some in-house fashioned safety mechanisms. But all the asterisked systems were created, designed and given to the automobile industry by Mercedes Benz. Just like the story of man and God where man challenged God to a contest to create a human. Man said “I have become scientifically sound. I can create a human, we need you no more”. And indeed, he could. He then asked God: “Do you accept the challenge?” God said: “Okay”. When they were to begin, God bent down to reach for some sand. Man did so too, and God said “Drop that! Go create your own sand!”… A true pioneer in its industry. In fact, the S-Class ‘PRE-SAFE’ security system makes the car one of the safest vehicles in the world.

There are many things in life that will catch your eye. But only a few will catch your heart… invest in those. Whatever your reservations, both brands and their cars are amazing.

It is safe to deduce that Mercedes Benz, despite her somewhat homogeneity (unlike the BMW) is a trail blazer, not just in the birth of automobile technology but in idea, originality and spirit.

 

(Oh! And guess what… I drive a BMW)

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