Customers are rarely rewarded when they're loyal to a certain brand because the automaker that built it wants you to buy the new model. Mercedes is an exception as it's handing out retro badges to owners of high-mileage cars and to those who've had the car for an extended amount of time. Many will be surprised to hear the High Mileage Award programme has actually been around since the 1960s. For 2023, Mercedes Japan is now accepting applications.
How does it work? You must sign up on the company's local official website and have the car verified by one of the authorised dealers. If everything is in order, the dealer will contact the owner to gift them the classic badge, a certificate of authenticity, and a letter of appreciation. It's as simple as that. The programme has been going on for a while in the Land of the Rising Sun and some cars are even highlighted on Mercedes' website, together with their proud owners.
Mercedes-Benz 500 GE V8
There are several designs of the three-pointed star being awarded, depending on how many kilometres the car has racked up and based on the amount of time the owner has had the vehicle. In Japan, the milestones eligible for an owner to get the emblem are reached at 100,000, 200,000, 300,000, 500,000, and 1 million kilometres, or if they've had the car for 10, 20, or 30 years. In the United States, the milestones are at 155,000, 310,000, 466,000, 621,000, and 1 million miles.
It is believed the record was set by a Greek taxi driver named Gregorios Sachinidis who owned a 1976 W115 240D with more than 4.6 million kilometres (2.8 million miles). He bought the saloon in 1981 when it had already done 220,000 kilometres (136,700 miles) in just five years. Legend has it he changed the engine two or three times before the car was retired at Mercedes' museum in 2004 during the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler era. As a token of appreciation for his loyalty, Sachinidis received the keys to a new C-Class C200 CDI.