Update: Nintendo UK has issued the following statement to Eurogamer regarding this news:
The announcement this time was made by Mercedes-Benz Japan regarding their collaboration in Japan with NCL.
As for the information relating to the distribution of the GLA kart for MK8 outside Japan, we will be able to announce in the near future.
It certainly sounds like similar content is on the cards for the West.
Courtesy of its release one day earlier in Japan, Mario Kart 8 is now on store shelves in the country, though Nintendo will hope that copies will fly off shelves just as quickly. The company and commercial partner Mercedes have wasted no time, meanwhile, in unveiling some free DLC on the way to the title; time to open up the floodgates?
As you can see in the image above and below, this free content will come in the form of a Mercedes kart, part of a wider marketing campaign for the GLA class models to be promoted alongside the iconic Mario brand. In moves reminiscent of the Callaway partnership in Mario Golf: World Tour - which is distributing special clubs and items alongside Callaway-branded tournaments - the pictured Mercedes kart will be distributed free in Japan this Summer, with a special Tournament to be held in the Autumn / Fall period; we expect this tournament will be part of the online aspect of the game.
It's free DLC, admittedly, and also shows that Nintendo has developed the basic features into the game to cater these additions. We've just recently written about how Nintendo can keep the race going with DLC, so it'll be interesting to see whether this Mercedes promotion or equivalents make it outside of Japan, and also whether it's merely a starting-off point for full-on paid-DLC.
You can see a Mercedes trailer for the Mario partnership and more game screens below. Let us know what you think of this promotion; do you think it'll lead to more DLC for Mario Kart 8 in the future?
Thanks to babyguess for the tip.