By on January 4, 2010

2008 Concept indicates the look of a CLS Shooting Brake

Having a hard time understanding the stream of inexplicable niche products coming out of the German automakers recently? Mercedes isn’t about to make things any easier. According to the latest print edition of Auto Motor und Sport, Mercedes has fallen so far down the segment-busting rabbit hole, it’s planning a “Shooting Brake” wagon version of its already-confusing four-door coupe, the CLS. Intended, of course, to compete with the BMW 5GT and Audi A7. Look for a concept inspired by this 2008 ConceptFascination study to debut at this fall’s Paris Auto Show. Then expect Audi and BMW’s designers to drop even more acid and talk their bosses into producing a landaulet-roofed, seven-door, MPV-coupe. You know, just to see if Mercedes makes one too.

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22 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Niché Edition...”


  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Is this R-Class Junior? Didn’t they learn first time?

  • avatar
    p00ch

    I must admit I like it. Childless people sometimes need utility too without the need for an extra set of doors. Sure beats buying an SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Do these German companies really make so much money that they can release dozens of new models?
       
      No,  but they’re so engrossed in an inter-company engineering cockfight with each other that they just can’t help it.  VW, BMW and Daimler’s executives act  very, very much like the Detroit Three just before the Japanese came in and ate their lunch.
       
      The meta-commentary in this post nails it: the respective egos of these companies’ executives is reaching critical mass; they’re so overinflated, and yet so fragile, that they can’t abide by one member of the trifecta producing something that the other two can’t do better.
       
      This is the kind of thinking that let Lexus get traction in the first place.  It’ll only serve Toyota better, because they (and Hyundai) are very good at quietly improving their core products, slowing stealing marketshare and gaining brand equity, all under the noses of preoccupied competitors.  Competitors, who, if they stopped comparing the sizes of each others metaphorical dicks, would realize that someone else went home with the girl.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    p00ch: Also true for childish people.
    I was thinking that this critter is supposed to compete with the X6 and the Honda/Accura/Crosstour monstrosities. Why there must be hundreds of potential buyers.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Do these German companies really make so much money that they can release dozens of new models?  Even if they’re only modifications of existing models, the quantity is staggering compared to the number of new vehicles that, say, Honda releases in the same amount of time.
    If they’re making so much money BECAUSE of this strategy, then I don’t think you’d be criticizing it.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      It’s even more surprising that so many of these different German models have actually made it through U.S. certification and have been offered for sale in the U.S.  It really doesn’t seem that many of these German cars are sold in volumes large enough to justify their existence, let alone being certified for sale in the U.S.
       
      These German car companies sort of remind me of the Detroit Big-3 back in the day (in the 50s through the 70s) when they too offered a plethora of different models.  At least the Germans have not spread all of their various models over a large number of different “makes” the way that Detroit did, so when they are no longer able to offer so many different models, they and their dealers should still be around.
       

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’ve always liked sporty wagons, but that seems to put me in rare company.  How’s the Volvo C30 selling?

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Probably the same reason why BMW and Mercedes all suddenly have a fascination with LED DRLs, light pipes, small round knobs in the center console that control 10,000 functions, and marketing materials with two capitalized words stuck together, like BlueHybrid, EfficientDynamics and ConceptFascination.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Really, a 2 door wagon?  Mmmmmk.

    • 0 avatar
      no_slushbox

      That’s just for the concept; the real thing will be a 4-door inefficiently designed wagon just like the CLS is a four-door inefficiently designed sedan.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    It’s just the “hot hatch” for older guys who are too afraid and have too much money to be seen in a GTI (which is really what they probably want).

  • avatar

    I own a CLS so I would not be prone to calling it “confusing”. It makes a lot of sense because it leverages the already developed W-211 platform and it’s low volume so the margins are stronger than on the mainline E class sedans and the resale holds up exceptionally well on the 550 models (which are a big improvement over the 500). I think they sold 27k cars in the first 3 years. Confusing… that would definitely be the E63 wagon.
    As for a wagon, it would make more sense to restyle the R class, which has been a total dud. Trying to turn the CLS into a wagon variant would be really difficult given the roof line…. these cars don’t have much in the way of headroom.

    • 0 avatar
      no_slushbox

      “the margins are stronger than on the mainline E class sedans” – That means you overpaid, right?

    • 0 avatar

      @no_slushbox overpaid relative to what baseline? I’ve been really happy with this car from a purchase price to value standpoint… I paid $63k for the car (P1 + P2 package) and I could reasonably sell it today for $46k. How many, purchased new, cars have you owned for 3 years and could recover 3/4 of the purchase price for?

    • 0 avatar
      no_slushbox

      The baseline I’m using is the baseline you mention, “mainline E class sedans”.  Like you said, Mercedes makes a big margin by selling what’s basically an E class with a smaller interior for more money.

      And I highly doubt that there is anything special about resale value.  Especially since a redesigned E class is now out.  Black book says $30,385-$40,850 for a loaded ’07 CLS 550 with 33K miles.   

      If you like it that’s what matters, but this trend of people paying more money just to have a more cramped interior (e.g. CLS vs. E, Passat vs. CC) in their German sedans is, as the author says, confusing.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    If the 1996-2002 E-Class was a w210, wouldn’t this/current  E-Class be w212s?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

     
    Do these German companies really make so much money that they can release dozens of new models?

    No,  but they’re so engrossed in an inter-company engineering cockfight with each other that they just can’t help it.  VW, BMW and Daimler’s executives act  very, very much like the Detroit Three just before the Japanese came in and ate their lunch.

    The meta-commentary in this post nails it: the respective egos of these companies’ executives is reaching critical mass; they’re so overinflated, and yet so fragile, that they can’t abide by one member of the trifecta producing something that the other two can’t do better.

    This is the kind of thinking that let Lexus get traction in the first place.  It’ll only serve Toyota better, because they (and Hyundai) are very good at quietly improving their core products, slowing stealing marketshare and gaining brand equity, all under the noses of preoccupied competitors.  Competitors, who, if they stopped comparing the sizes of each others metaphorical dicks, would realize that someone else went home with the girl.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    What would be the reason to buy this odd duck instead of the Cadillac CTS wagon?

  • avatar
    imag

    I actually think that’s the only good-looking car I’ve seen from Merc lately.
     
    The wagonization is the only thing that makes those rear fenders work for me.

  • avatar
    Ooshley

    ‘…a landaulet-roofed, seven-door, MPV-coupe.’
    Do I smell a Photoshop contest? :D

  • avatar
    AccAzda

    I think MB is really really bored.


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