When not showing off their latest models at one of the major motor shows, manufacturers come up with all manner of places to host the press as they pull the covers off their latest car. Locations have ranged from factories to inner-city hotels and even on board ships.
The global premiere for the Mercedes GLC was another one that was hosted somewhere a little different - in this case the Hugo Boss headquarters just outside Stuttgart in Germany.
If you watch Formula 1 then you might be aware of the fact that Hugo Boss and Mercedes have a bit of an existing relationship - the fashion brand’s name appears on the side of Hamilton's and Rosberg’s cars, and the two companies are officially partners.
It makes sense in many ways - both are aspirational, German brands, and there is a large amount of crossover in their target markets of affluent, style-conscious and probably more mature buyers.
As a result of taking up a large amount of Hugo Boss’s HQ, a large chunk of the press conference that was supposed to be heralding the arrival of the C-Class based BMW X3 rival was then handed over to Ola Kallenius and Hugo Boss CEO, Claus-Dietrich Lahrs.
What followed was a series of observations that were supposed to illustrate the links between the two companies. Both spoke of their recent growth in the Chinese market, and the importance of China to their futures, and both talked of their relationship with the customer.
One of these highlighted a similarity between the two companies, while the other showed the differences between selling finely tailored suits and shirts and highly engineered cars to the masses.
Both Mercedes and Hugo Boss spoke of their pride of their dealer network and shops. Merc is planning to open another five inner-city centres that are more like shops than dealerships, while Lahrs said that 75% of Hugo Boss’s business comes as a result of direct communication with its customers.
The difference came when the two spoke of China. The Hugo Boss brand is strong enough that Lahrs says the company makes one collection that it sells the world over, because customers want the original.
Mercedes, meanwhile, has recently expanded its base in China, and spoke of the benefits this brings as far as being able to respond to changing customer demands. It seems we might not mind if our suits are the same the whole world over, but where cars are concerned, we're much more discerning. Mercedes’ situation is not an enviable one, but it's one we should be grateful for as it keeps brands on their toes. The suggestion is that power still lies, sort of, with the consumer, which is reassuring.