In car-speak, acronyms have their pros and cons. Alphanumeric, gobbledygook names force customers to use the parent company’s name every time they identify a car, casting a halo effect for the brand. “I drive a Legend,” for example, did less for Acura than, “I drive an Acura.” And so the RL was born.
Now apply that thinking to Mercedes-Benz, which, to be fair, has always used alphanumeric names. But as the company expanded its lineup to some 15 separate nameplates—not counting the AMG models—it resulted in confusion on the showroom floor and significant marketing challenges in promoting individual models. Things needed to get simpler, and they have: the replacements for Mercedes’ mid-sized CLK-class coupe and cabriolet models will henceforth be identified as part of the E-class family. (The CL coupes will also become part of the S-class lineup.)