Why is the new E-Class showing "Qibla" on its new Compass? Because Middle-East...
Not "Because Racecar."by Robert Moore, on
Mercedes has, on more than one occasion, boasted its relentless strategy for growth. Markets like China, Germany, and the U.S., taking up a big portion of the brand’s motivation to grow. It might sound surprising to some, but the Middle East is also a key market for the German manufacturer.
This fact was made evident years ago. In fact, in a conversation with Gulf Business back in 2013, Matthias Luhrs – the VP of global sales at Mercedes-Benz – said, “The Middle East is one of our defined core markets for our 2020 strategy and forms a major or very important part in this growth path.” He continued, “The implication is if you do a region strategy, you’d only do that if it’s an important region or market. Besides markets [such as] China, Germany, U.S., Canada, there’s other growing markets than these three big and one of the major focused markets for us is the Middle East.”
So, how important is the Middle East to Mercedes? It’s important enough that the onboard compass on the Mercedes E-Class actually has an option to turn on a Qibla marker. That’s right; Mercedes sees the Middle East as such an important market that it went out of its way to add a special feature that indicates exactly which direct anyone of Muslim faith should face when praying.
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Why it Matters
Followers of the Muslim faith must pray five times a day, at specific times, and while facing a certain direction. Normally the Qibla is found on the wall of a Mosque or can sometimes be found in multifaith prayer rooms as well. This is, however, the first time I’ve heard of one being included in the software for a car’s onboard compass. I think that is actually a pretty big deal. Since the Middle East is a pretty big market for Mercedes, it really comes as no surprise. Considering those of the Muslim faith must pray multiple times a day at prescribed times, this marker could actually come in handy. I wouldn’t expect to find it on a U.S-spec E-Class, but then again, you never know. You’ve got to hand it to Mercedes for this one, though – how often do you hear about a manufacturer taking its customers’ religious beliefs into consideration? Well, I don’t know about you, but this is the first I’ve ever heard of it.
For those of you who don’t know, there is actually an interesting story behind the Qibla. You can learn more about it here.