HomeCar CultureMercedes bets toy cars can inspire girls, too

Mercedes bets toy cars can inspire girls, too


Mattel may be famous for Barbie, but also for Hot Wheels, and the toymaker has joined with Mercedes-Benz USA “to create a toy car that challenges gender stereotypes” and to “inspire the next generation of female trailblazers.”

“If you give a girl a toy car, would she imagine winning a race or would she trade it in for a tea set?” Mercedes-Benz USA wondered.

“According to researchers, most young girls would go for the tea set, thanks to beliefs formed at an early age that some toys are meant for boys and others for girls. To challenge these perceptions, Mercedes-Benz USA and Mattel have teamed up to show children – particularly girls – that they can aspire to be and do anything they desire when there are no limits.”

Mercedes, Mercedes bets toy cars can inspire girls, too, ClassicCars.com Journal
Ewy Rosqvist, co-driver/navigator Ursula Wirth and their Mercedes-Benz 220 SE on their way to victory in Argentinian Grand Prix | Daimler AG photo
Mercedes, Mercedes bets toy cars can inspire girls, too, ClassicCars.com Journal
Mattel worked with Mercedes USA to produce these toy-sized copies of Ewy Rosqvist’s 1962 Argentinian Grand Prix-winning 220SE

Mercedes and Mattel have produced a die-cast Matchbox replica of the Mercedes-Benz 220SE driven to victory by Swedish native Ewy Rosqvist in the 1962 Argentinian Grand Prix and are giving those toy cars to thousands of girls in first grade across the country. The car also will be offered for sale in retail outlets.

Rosqvist learned to drive when she worked as a veterinary assistant and had to visit several farms each day. She started recording her driving times between those farms, entered rallies as a co-driver for her husband but then starting driving in those events. She won the Argentine race with another woman, Ursula Wirth, as her co-driver/navigator.

Mercedes USA also has released a short film, Ewy Rosqvist: An Unexpeted Champion, to celebrate International Women’s History Month.

“Through Ewy’s story, we saw an opportunity to inspire young girls to ‘play outside the box’ and imagine all the different opportunities open to them without the restrictions of traditional stereotypes,” Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for MBUSA, is quoted in the announcement.

Mercedes, Mercedes bets toy cars can inspire girls, too, ClassicCars.com Journal
Ewy Rosqvist

“We realized that these pioneering women from our past could serve as valuable role models for young girls today and have a positive impact on how they see their future. This led us to collaborate with Matchbox to create a tangible reminder for girls that there are no restrictions on their tomorrow.”

So, can a toy car really change the way our children see themselves?

“Mercedes-Benz is betting on it,” the company said, and it offers a No Limits video to underscore its effort, and even offers an online discussion guide 

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. There will probably never be an equal number of women in racing, just based on biology, but there certainly could be a lot more than there are now. Now that very few racing careers end in a fiery injury or death (RIP, Nikki Lauda), there should be few social/cultural barriers to women’s participation. Good luck to Mercedes with this little project.


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