That's especially true for the S class. That's why Mercedes' marketing strategy is snagging core customers for its flagship in some unexpected ways.
The company is giving selected customers a precious black carton bearing the customer's name engraved on a gold badge. At the bottom, the carton contains two premium books, one on the history of the S class, the other on the new model.
But the high point is the remainder of the contents: An impressive 1/18th scale miniature model. It not only has the same color as the customer's current vehicle, but, in most cases, displays the official license plate as well.
Mercedes dealers can present the gift as a way of cementing customer relationships.
"Never before has a manufacturer brought that kind of individualized instrument into use," said Dirk Spakowski, chief consultant at the Springer & Jacoby, Mercedes' advertising agency.
About 20,000 model cars will be distributed throughout Europe.
In Europe, Japan and North America, the customer loyalty rate for the S class stands at 90 percent.
That's why the focus of the entire communication mix is being directed at these customers; Mercedes does not want to lose them.
The S class clientele is 90 percent men, mostly between the ages of 50 and 55, either self-employed or in management.
"This is a pure male domain, " said Justus Schneider, head of Mercedes-Benz marketing. "We have never given serious thought to addressing women."
"Decision-makers want to recognize developments earlier than others do, so they can be farsighted and in command," said Schneider, describing the S class customer. The new model offers many innovations that fulfill this desire for "farsighted leadership."