Mercedes Won’t Let Even Their Toy Cars Crash

Stuttgart picks a marketing gimmick that is short-circuiting children.

Kids love it when you break their toys. Or, more insidiously, break their toys without appearing to have done so, leaving the children confused and frustrated and in tantrum.

To advertise the Brake Assist Plus feature of its new C-Class, Mercedes fashioned toy cars with opposed magnets in their bumpers, which prevent the cars’ noses from touching. Despite the best efforts from a crew of tots—a demographic with real verve for smashing and bashing—the tiny Mercedes never crash. Most of the time, that’s how it works in the real world; autonomous braking improves with every generation, and keeps distracted drivers from plowing into other cars.

Along with Volvo, Mercedes is often at the fore of automotive safety innovation. The company is credited with the collapsible steering columns, crumple zones and electronic stability control that almost every car—down to the $16k Honda Fit—has today.

We’re glad to see the company’s Alubeam Silver-coated ambitions saving lives, even if its marketing department is antagonizing children.