2008 CLK63 AMG Black Series – Know Your Target Market

2008-mercedes-benz.jpg

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of AMG-tuned Mercedes, the German automaker has introduced a special edition of the CLK63 call the Black Series. Based on the official Formula 1 safety car, the Black Series CLK63 is powered by a 500HP 6.2 liter V8 capable of propelling the coupe from zero to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 186 mph.

The new AMG coupe sports huge carbon-fiber fender flares, 19-inch wheels and tires and larger brake rotors that measure an massive 14.2 inches at the front and a still impressive 13 inches in the back. The front fascia has larger ducting that feeds air into a bigger radiator and a second transmission oil cooler. The car is also equipped with rocker panel extensions and a carbon-fiber rear decklid spoiler.

Normally a 4 seater, the Black Series has only two front seats. The rear seats have been removed to lighten the vehicle (not that it helped much since the car still weighs over 3,900 lbs). Less than 500 examples will be produced and it will be priced at $136,000.

Knowing Your Target Market

The CLK63 AMG is a good study in the important of knowing your target market. In Europe, the AMG super coupe has a no-nonsense, almost race car, interior. The seats are non adjustable (except for forward and back) and made from a carbon-fiber shell wrapped by a thinly padded cloth seating surface. The door panels are also made from carbon-fiber.

clkblack08.jpg

black-series-door.jpg

I absolutely love the above AMG interior. However, Mercedes claims their average American customer won’t go for an AMG Mercedes with non-adjustable cloth seats. It seems Mercedes sees their USA customers as fat, overweight, lazy bums. How else can you explain the interior for the USA version of the Black Series CLK63?

07mbclk63.jpg

The USA AMG Black Series feature sofa size leather seats that even the fattest American butt will fit in. The carbon-fiber doors has been replaced with rich leather and Mercedes added a cup holder big enough to hold a Super Big Gulp! How American can you get? At least they kept the car as a two seater.

I don’t know about you but I would take the European version over the USA version any day. However, I am not an American. So I want to ask my American readers which version they like? Do you think Mercedes is playing stereotype with this car? The Black Series are supposed to be serious track ready cars. Dumbing them down for the American market seem almost like a crime to me.


140 thoughts on “2008 CLK63 AMG Black Series – Know Your Target Market”

  1. MrGPT says:

    Wait John! I changed my mind!
    I don’t want the Audi TT anymore… I want that!

    1. i’d love to have a benz too

      1. MrGPT says:

        Don’t we all ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

        1. it’s a shame that most can not afford one

          1. Lance says:

            Awesome car but yeah can’t afford it too ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

          2. Even if I could afford it, I don’t think I’ll buy this though.

          3. Steven says:

            I agree with website copywriter, although it is a nice car, I would much rather spend that money on something else.

          4. Certainly, you can get a sweeter ride with less fluff that doesn’t cost so much.

      2. Jarle says:

        nah… Too cheap :mrgreen:

    2. simon says:

      Hahaha :mrgreen:
      But I still like Ferrari.

  2. Ed Lau says:

    Carbon fiber anything is awesome.

    1. hmmm, i’m not sure about that

      1. Pam Hoffman says:

        fails catastrophically!

        [took a course with a top-notch scientist on the Delta Rocket program years ago]

        Pam Hoffman

        1. Marc says:

          It does indeed, but still, you have love the strength and weight.

  3. 136000?! John, that’s your 10 months’ blog earnings putting together…

    1. Ryan Lewis says:

      But with a big blue John Chow dot Com label across the hood he would get a sweet $47,600 tax write-off!

  4. Ryan Lewis says:

    If I paid a $136,000 for a car I’d at least want it to go 190 MPh. What if I’m in a hurry?

    1. where would you drive it though?

      the problem with high speed car is that there is speed limit on the road. so does it matter whether it’s 140, 160 or 190mph?

      1. Brilliances says:

        Try the autobarn. It’s mad. I was on it doing 160 and got passed in a split second by a lambo.. mad!


        Jerry

        Road to Mega Millions

        1. Jarle says:

          No matter how fast you drive, there will allways be some driving faster than you ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Lewis Empire says:

        You’re right there! I suppose it matters to someone or why not electronically limit it to 90mph?
        I think I’d go for a $120,000 car and throw a nice motorbike in the garage as well.

        1. Marc says:

          I’d even subdivide that ๐Ÿ™‚ $75 000 will still buy a very nice car ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I’m pretty sure you’ll get to your destination on time even running at less than 150. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And ALIVE, more importantly.

      1. Lewis Empire says:

        I’m happy to hear that you’re concerned about my safety! You’d laugh if you knew how slow (limit + 10%ish) I actually drive!

        1. You know what they say — sometimes slow IS good LOL.

  5. Chris says:

    I think American’s just want comfort. Why spend that much money for a car and end up hating to ride in it because it’s not comfortable?

    1. ricdes says:

      Lol because it feels like a F1 and for puristic drivers?

      I would love the euro version. And I agree that lots of americans are FAT and LAZY!

    2. The seats don’t look comfy at all, but what do I know right LOL. I’d take one if it’s free, that’s for sure.

      1. Marc says:

        Seats like that are comfy when you’re pulling 2Gs in a corner and your butt’s trying to exit the vehicle.

        If you just want to drive in a straight line in comfort then you should be looking for a great big Lincoln town car ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. 2 Gs around a corner — the chances of that ever happening with me behind the wheel is smaller than me buying this car LOL.

          I’d take a Lincoln town car anyday. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Chad says:

    John, I’m proudly an American and in better shape than you. Booyah.

    1. Shaun Carter says:

      I second that, I’m pretty sick of the “fat American” stereotype… some of us actually take care of ourselves.

      But I guess statistically they say more than 50% of the country is overweight – so what can we do?

      1. MrGPT says:

        Yes. Us fit people must stick together! ๐Ÿ˜†
        Actually, I am pretty sick of the stereotype as well, but there really is nothing we can do unless all the obese people decide to do something about it.

        1. Carl says:

          You guys are all part of the vast minority.

      2. make the other 50% take care of themselves too

      3. It’s funny how this thread turned into an American’s are fat and lazy one. To bad that stereotype holds some truth. Americans as a whole are a fat nation. I personally however like many Americans are in great shape.

        I personally would probably still go for the American version. I would hate to spend that kind of money on a car only to find the unadjustable seats are uncomfortable.

        Then again, if you can afford that car you could buy a different car for comfort and keep this one for racing or the show-off factor.

        1. James says:

          Obesity levels are growing globally not just in the US.
          It’s those magazine editors that are always complaining how difficult it is to climb in and out of sports cars.

  7. Shaun Carter says:

    I think they were smart to offer a different version for the American market. I mean honestly, how often are you going to take the car to the track? I’d prefer comfortable leather seats and a cup holder if I’m forking over that kind of money for a car.

    If I wanted a race car I’d get a lambo or ferrari.

    1. John Chow says:

      That’s what I mean about knowing your target market. And Lambo and Ferrari dumb down their cars for the US market as well.

      1. ritchie says:

        Yes, they do gravely. Whenever possible, I’d suggest importing one of those directly from Europe.

      2. Shaun Carter says:

        What kind of mods do Lambo and Ferrari make for their American versions?

  8. tips says:

    I have a question (it is not regarding to this post)
    John Chow can know your home address?

    1. Steven says:

      Your question does not make any sense… Are you trying to ask for John’s address?

      I would personally choose the US version because I like the luxury feel more than the racing theme.

      1. adrian says:

        no dude, i want to know if he know my address.

    2. MrGPT says:

      Why would you want to know that?
      I don’t think he’d give it out to any random person. If it’s not here he probably doesn’t want people to know.

      1. Ryan says:

        Maybe he wants to mail John a beer.

        1. adrian says:

          dudes i think you can`t read very well.
          i was wondering if JOHN CHOW knows MY address

          1. John Chow says:

            Why would I want to know your address?

          2. Steven says:

            I can read fine. I think you need to learn how to type as your comment said “your” address, indicating John’s address and not your own; otherwise you would of wrote “my” address.

  9. Ryan says:

    John, I know a little more than you about how this product marketing works, so I will explain. In exchange, the next time you are in the LA area, you can buy me a beer for this brief education.

    It has nothing to do with Americans being fat. Yes, its true. Mercedes is simply trying to target the sweet spot of this market. The luxury/sport automobile market in the U.S. requires that a car have a luxurious interior. It has nothing to do with the fitness of Americans. Its simply what people expect in this segment. If you compromise on the interior, despite its racing attributes, you risk alienating the customer.

    With that said, if Mercedes was to limit U.S. production to a very few units, I am sure that they could find buyers even with the less comfortable seats. However, demand may not be as strong as it may be with its U.S. configuration. Since the purpose of this car is to create a buzz, Mercedes is doing its best to create a car that appeals to the most possible people.

    1. MrGPT says:

      Sounds like a car salesman, or someone actually from Mercedes ๐Ÿ˜ฎ .

      1. Ryan says:

        Hah. No, I don’t work in the automobile industry, but I know a little about marketing.

        If I had $130K to spend, I would choose a Porsche 911 turbo over a confused Mercedes.

        1. MrGPT says:

          I agree ๐Ÿ™‚ . I heart Porsche’s mucho.

        2. “Confused Merecedes” — I like that. As far as two-doors go, I prefer the Porsche as well.

    2. Carl says:

      You must be fat

      1. Ryan says:

        I must be, since I am an American.

    3. honestly, if you’ve got 150000 to spend on the car, i’m sure you can afford to customize the car to your very specification, whether you’re far too fat or far too thin

      1. Lewis Empire says:

        That would defeat the purpose of being lazy in the first place…

    4. Walt says:

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      It doesn’t have anything to do with weight, it’s what Americans are used to.

      I’m an American, and the first interior does nothing for me…looks uncomfortable. The second one makes me want to take out a home equity loan. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    5. Marc says:

      With no name attached to your post, it will be hard for John to buy you a beer… ๐Ÿ˜

  10. Simon says:

    I’m european, but I’d definately take the american car. To me, not being able to adjust the seets is a pretty big deal, what if I want to take a nap. :mrgreen:

    1. Ryan says:

      Are you fat?

    2. take a nap while you’re driving? :mrgreen:

      i know what you mean, but i’d suggest you to get a caravan, you’d get a bed and all the comfort you need

      1. MrGPT says:

        No, like if you go on road trips and you don’t want to stay in a hotel you sleep in your car. You just pop the set back. It’s actually comfortable in some cars.

        1. Simon says:

          No I’m not that fat, but while my cheufeur is driving I like to dose off. I like seets that can recline, thats all, it has nothing to do with weight.

          1. Ryan says:

            I think we have collectively refuted John Chow’s theory then.

        2. Marc says:

          This isn’t exactly a road trip kind of car.

    3. John Chow says:

      What is I want to take a nap? Man! If you’re in that car, the last thing you will think about is taking a nap! :mrgreen:

      1. Lewis Empire says:

        Maybe at 186 MPh you lose consciousness. It may be important to have a snooze at that time…if only for a few short seconds.

      2. Jarle says:

        Ha ha ha!!! ๐Ÿ˜†

  11. Nice ride ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. maurizio says:

    It seems that 90% of the commenters forgot that this car is for people who actually drive it for fun, probably on racing tracks too.

    I would love the US version if I have to use it to go to work, but this car wasn’t created for that.

    1. Matthew says:

      Exactly right I think. I also think if you can afford $100k+ for a car then it wont be your only car and the other cars you own would cater for other things such as luxury, and familys etc…

    2. ritchie says:

      I fully agree. It’s simply not your average “honey, we need some milk. can you drive to the supermarket-vehicle” ๐Ÿ˜Ž

      1. Simon says:

        I think you’re reading too much into this. I’m sure there are tons of people out there just dying to blow their savings on a car like this. In that case it would be their only car.

        1. Marc says:

          ๐Ÿ˜†

          Literally tons of them…

          ๐Ÿ˜†

    3. Way to target a very small market though, don’t you think?

    4. Wahlau.NET says:

      US version doesn’t seems to be used on the race track

      Anyway, this would be fun to try on race track and also on the road

  13. Mybloggo says:

    Dunno when i can buy this type of car by make money online ๐Ÿ™„

    1. ritchie says:

      Well, this might take a couple of weeks. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

      1. Make that three — remember, you’ll need to purchase an equally hot house with a hot garage to match that hot car.

  14. Jarle says:

    I wouldn’t mind owning a car like that.

  15. HEAVYCHALK says:

    Hands down, the European version :mrgreen:

  16. Michael says:

    The seats are not for me, they “look” better or more normal on the american version. When I take a friend out for a drive in my $136,000 car, the seats should look like they belong in an expensive car, not something out of a street racer.

    I would take the american version not because I need the bigger seat, but because of what my friends would think about the European style seat.

    Michael

    1. webd360 says:

      Lol, well what your friends think depends on your friends because most of mine would probably be more impressed with the European “street look”. I am still in my teens though (and most of my friends are too), which is probably why the difference in opinion is there. But anyway, if I was spending that kind of money on a car I would buy what I want, regardless of what my friends think.

    2. My friends would worship me if I had a car like that — I know, they’re all shallow like that. ๐Ÿ˜† I don’t think they’d care what the seats look like anymore LOL.

  17. Marc says:

    excellent piece of machine ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Chris says:

    Being a skinny assed American I would for sure go for the European interior. I’ve sat in seats like that and they are surprisingly comfortable and VERY VERY supportive.

    I find those squishy American type seats comfortable for about 15 minutes. Anything longer than that and my back and legs start to feel fatigued. Not very supportive at all.

    And I have no need for damn cup holders in this type of car. Anyone bringing any kind of liquid into a car like that should be shot!

    The door panels are confusing though. I think the American buyer of cars like these would have thought the carbon fiber inserts were very cool indeed.

  19. idoxlr8 says:

    You need to give Mercedes a bit more credit, they realize that Americans that spend $136,000 on a car like that aren’t going to be race it. Real American racers that have an extra 136,000 put the money in the race car, or their $250,000 toterhomes.

  20. limeade says:

    I’d much prefer the American version. If I’m spending that much on a car, it needs to be comfortable.

  21. Tom says:

    I’m European and I’d take the American version. I’m not fat either ๐Ÿ˜›

    I agree it should be comfortable for that money and how often are you going to hit 120+ mph?

  22. Geedos says:

    The comments on here reflect exactly why Mercedes changed the look and feel of the American version of the car.

    Americans quite simply don’t “get” the beauty of a vehicle like this or the driving experience it offers. That’s because the vast majority of them simply want to chug down the wide roads, wobble around the gentle corners, and canter into the drive through – all without spilling any of their super size cola while on the phone to their shrink!

    Europeans who bought this car on the other hand would be queuing outside the Nurburgring to put it through it’s paces faster than you can say “large Big Mac meal please”.

    This car wasn’t designed to take you from A to B, it was designed to thrill you to the very outer reaches of your soul.

    1. Ryan says:

      You still don’t get it. Read my post above about marketing.

  23. Charles Lau says:

    I would always prefer a BMW over a Mercedes… But this car looks terrific!

  24. SEO Blog says:

    I realize this is a technicality but Canada is in North America therefore Canadians=Americans. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. Ben says:

    $136,000?? Why not just buy an SL55?

  26. Beautiful car! I still stick to my Audi for now, … wait, maybe after test drive, if it’s really feel good I will reconsider.

  27. Rob says:

    Which version I prefer depends on how rich I am. If I’m super rich and can afford to only drive the car occasionaly for fun, than I would take the more sporty European version. If I have to use it as a daily driver, I’d take the more comfortable American version.

    http://blog.thetechnonaut.com

  28. Paul says:

    I used to valet cars for several high end places and I can say with confidence that most wealthy Americans will opt for the leather. Who wants cloth in a benz!

    1. Luxury cars deserve nothing less than leather, me thinks.

  29. MK says:

    I like the inside of both of them, but if I had to choose I would go with the American version.

    The Euro version does have a strong race car feel to it – and if you’re into that stuff then it might be for you.

    But I’m not into racing, and the American version looks more comfortable – more like something I would drive around on the road.

    Now John, since you are just so nice, why don’t you buy me one of those babies?

  30. As an American, I’d say the Americans would probably want the American version. I Eupopean version would be soemthing younger Americans would be more inclined to buy. (I would rather have the euro version though).

  31. Dave says:

    I’m American, please give me the Euro version!

  32. Living in Florida, I can say that black, leather interior is not fun! Very hot and sticky!!

    Give me cloth interior.

  33. I’m neither American or European, but I prefer the Euro version.

  34. Rob Schultz says:

    Why not give us in America the option? I think both interiors are great and would love to have the power leather seats (needs more side bolster) and the carbon fiber door trim.

    1. webd360 says:

      Allowing buyers to customize would be the best option, but I suppose it would cost more since the cars would have to be built differently according to the buyers wants.

    2. John Chow says:

      Too limit a production run (only 500 cars) to gives an option like that. But you’re right, it would be the best option.

  35. Jamaipanese says:

    ooohhh myyy gggoooosssshhhh

    I want that!!!!

    ๐Ÿ˜€

  36. webd360 says:

    I’m American too and I would definitely rather go for the European version (not that I could afford it though).

    1. Sometimes it’s nice to pretend that we could LOL.

  37. The Euro version is just way sexier. The American version looks like something for granparents to drive.

    1. Haha interesting way of putting it. I don’t know; if my grandparents were alive, I think they’d have a heart attack before they could even get inside the car.

  38. kristine says:

    such a lovely car, i would love to have that someday.. hoping

  39. Nirmal says:

    Beautiful and sexy car. Merc Rulez. ๐Ÿ˜€

  40. Admin says:

    Hi John,

    Can you have a look at my http://www.LinuxWorldForum.com and suggest promotional tips?

    I keep reading your blog quite often and respect the way you write.

    You have a li’ll different sytle to present your stuff and things while also conveying the message smoothly around.

    Thanks,

    Admin
    http://www.linuxworldforum.com

  41. Mike says:

    “American cars are developed byand for fat americans.” – by my mechanic. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Although I have to agree, usually european cars are more elegant, but thatยดs my 2 cents on the subject.

    Meh, but then again, a car for me is simply a vehicle, I never drool or dream about owning a specific expensive car. The only thing I really *want* is a nice house in a good neighborhood.

    The rest of the money could go for “improving the wife”, since I refuse to stay with a fat woman. And she shares the same oppinions about me.

  42. andy says:

    For that much money, they should offer the car with more HP. :mrgreen:

    1. Pam Hoffman says:

      I’m with you.

      IMHO, cars just go WAY TOO SLOW! I’m into rockets.

      Once you think about THAT kind of thrust (not measured in HP see) it’s hard to go back to tottering around in ANY kind of automobile.

      That is the real rush – liftoff! g-forces! and of course, microgravity at the end of it all…

      pam

      p.s. anyone know what a HP really is (=)? ask me on my blog and i’ll tell you!

  43. Scott Hayne says:

    I gotta say that in my experience, Benz is right on target. I worked at a hi-line dealer and the customers buying the SLRs were fatbastards that had trouble getting in and out. The number of people that wanted a Porsche Turbo with a tipronic or a Maserati without an F1 gearbox floored me. By my experience most of the people with the money to buy these cars have long since stopped being car enthusiasts and are purely status seekers.

  44. TheTurtle says:

    It is so very beautiful ๐Ÿ˜ณ

  45. I’d take BMW M6 over those ^_~

    1. webd360 says:

      I agree with you, I am a much bigger BMW fan than Mercedes

    2. Wahlau.NET says:

      i will take any of those offered

  46. sandossu says:

    That’s a great car, but, unfortunately i can’t afford it yet.

  47. shaun says:

    I like the car but for that price there are a few other cars I would rather purchase.

  48. I actually saw one of these while driving back to school over winter break this last year. It was in Santa Barbara in the Montecito area (where Opera) lives.

  49. ttgapers says:

    I am not American either, but why oh why would u choose the US version over the European version. A car is a machine, not a bed.

    ttgapers

    1. “A car is a machine, not a bed” — amen to that. ๐Ÿ˜†

  50. ttgapers says:

    I am not American either, but why oh why would u choose the US version over the European version. A car is a machine, not a bed.

    Looks like I have to ensure I login to get the nofollow remove. Kinda misleading when it takes name, email and URI here.

    oh well…..gotta remember to login.

    ttgapers

  51. I would take the EU one hands down.

  52. James says:

    I haven’t had a working cup holder in my Civic for years. I do hate the static charge from cloth seats in winter though.

    I think we have done fat people a disservice by allowing obesity to be considered a handicap and providing scooters for them so they do not have to walk. We are just providing them a bullet for the gun they will kill themselves with.

  53. Good point — I would love an actual working cup holder in my car right now.

  54. Maybe the doors were done in leather on the US version to accommodate side airbags. It doesn’t seem the Euro version has them.

  55. John Cow says:

    Bet that doesn’t come for $50k

  56. work at home says:

    Sweet pics of the AMG by Mercedes. The black interior of the AMG is well detailed I see.

    work at homeโ€™s last blog post: Work At Home Job Or Business?

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