How about we address an interesting topic in the web cache of the finer things in life with a different perspective. The focus is "grilles." No, I'm not referring to 2lbs of grill bling in a rapper's mouth driving a Bentley. I'm referring to "grille rights" of car manufacturers when it comes to key features of a vehicle that are signature to the manufacturer invoking near/far brand recognition and often times euphoria. Grille examples: BMW...kidney grille, Rolls Royce...radiator grille, Bugatti...horseshoe grille; and to the subject matter prompting this post, Aston Martin's distinct grille.
Recently I was slightly deceived when I thought at first glance from a distance and an obscured view, the Aston Martin's distinct grille on a beautiful DB9. As I voiced to my wife the pure beauty and form, a very distant second to hers, of the Aston Martin we were approaching at an angle; I was taken back by the fact it wasn't an Aston Martin but simply a common Ford Fusion. Yes, I know these two brands should not reside within the same article, sentence or even breath.
Findings & Future
This travesty prompted my research and I discovered many felt the same of this high-likeness as the message of the articles ranged from Aston Martin suing Ford for the Fusion/Mondeo copy to ones actually aware to the fact Ford did fully own and later a small percentage of Aston Martin. Only Aston Martin and Ford know all the details of the ownership agreement and perhaps it included "grille rights." If Ford was paying the bills and your salary, how could Aston Martin say no? Mercedes owns a 5% stake in Aston Martin and I don't envision a repeat offense of a "grille" infraction, however we will see Mercedes' technologies and engines infused within Aston Martin vehicles, per Andy Palmer.
Interesting. I get the access to R&D, manufacturing costs and time-to-market savings, along with a stick in the eye of BMW and Volkswagen, but what is in it for Mercedes/Daimler in the long run?
Hmmmm....almost sounds like "reverse grille rights" leading to future ownership rights if certain KPIs are met by Andy Palmer and team; resulting in Daimler not missing an opportunity again to bring a hopefully new and improved successful ultra luxury brand under the brand umbrella in a few years.
For further interesting side-by-side comparisons, I added the Hyundai's Genesis. At least Ford didn't change their emblem to look like Aston Martin and their company name to distance themselves from their mainstream brand.