By on June 21, 2015


Up until 2013, one could purchase a Mercedes G-Wagen with a droptop. Now, the automaker is thinking of dropping the tops throughout its SUV lineup.

Mercedes sports cars and SUVs chief Wolf-Dieter Kurz says it may be possible to bring a convertible SUV to market once the market for them is found, writes. He says the reason Mercedes stopped producing the G-Wagen Cabriolet after 34 years was due to a combination of volume and production reasons, adding such a vehicle exists in “a very slim niche in terms of the SUV portfolio.”

As for who might go for it, Kurz believes China would be a good start for a GLA or GLC convertible, though sales may be an uphill battle:

… China is not very good these days, or in total, in terms of convertibles, in terms of classical sedan-based coupes, in terms of roadsters. And it’s somewhat also the driving force in the meanwhile for the overall portfolio: can it be successful in China?

He adds there are “lots of discussions” and market research regarding convertible SUVs, but no decisions whether to press forward or not have been made thus far.

(Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz)

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38 Comments on “Mercedes Considering Introducing Convertible SUVs To Lineup...”

  • avatar


    Also, seen the air quality index in Mainland China lately? An optional NBC system might be preferable.

    P.S. Though I’m aware of the ‘offroad prowess’ built into every G-Wagen (which is clearly the reason why those who own one, buy one), that particular G pictures carries the aura of a vehicle that is 15-20% more capable at being a fun offroader than a 3-dr 4×4 Tracker at about 1758% the price.

    • 0 avatar

      You should look and see if you can get NBC systems installed into the Wranglers you like to retail. You’d open up a whole new market to preppers alone.

      Additional: I see you seem to have sold the MK Zephyr Hybrid, well done. I figured this would have been a tough sale.

      • 0 avatar

        TBH, I was demo’ing it for ~2000 miles and I personally enjoyed the car so I was in no hurry to retail it. On the positive side, I paid next well behind any rough book value for the car because it had 70k miles and FoMoCo called it ‘structural damage’ due to an aftermarket trailer hitch.

        Ended up selling for $14,495 +TTL to a very nice 75 year-old man from Spring Hill, FL who totalled his ’06 Accord and was looking all over the interwebs for specifically a Fusion or MKZ Hybrid.

        • 0 avatar

          Sounds like you found it a nice home then. I saw that and thought not bad for a hybrid price wise (which till last fall were hot property as you know) but high(er) miles on an MY12. I like your overall lineup but you’ve got what I think could be some slow moving stuff there which might be sucking up too much of your floorplan budget. I was worried that MKZ was going to be one of those things (along with the Infiniti QX56). I think you need to bring in 28-Cars-Later Consulting Inc ;)

          • 0 avatar

            Ha. I hate you because you’re absolutely right. As I tell my vendors, your check is in the mail…

            I went on a bit of a buying spree at the tail-end of the market peak, so though the deals I got were good, I didn’t NEED to buy them.

            My problem right now is that we’re entering the summer doldrums for sales where its so hot and humid here in West Florida that people really aren’t in the mood to shop on a hot asphalt lot, in addition to all the other typical ‘summer slowdown’ reasons.

            I think I experimented too much at one time with cars I wasn’t sure would work or not in my market and right now I’m left with the result – an overabundance of stick-shifts, no trucks or midsize SUVs, cars in the $15-20k that just don’t move, and lots of dark colors.

            I’m trying to thin out the herd and take my lick on what I need to so I can get back to buying what always works even in the slow times – Jeeps, pickups, Lincolns, and ‘fun’ cars like convertibles (Kappa, SLK, Z4, Mustang, etc) – and spending more time combing through the auction lanes for real deals (like the xB I have) and internet pieces.

            P.S. The QX56 is the owner’s wife’s car, so no floorplan worries there…thank god!

          • 0 avatar

            Fun cars are always a nice thing to have, my shop used to make nice money on new-used Z3s which was then wasted on other slow selling oddballs (TWO Chevy SSRs) or as-is hit and miss junk (the TMU “30K” MY87 Ford Tempo coupe with peeled paint broken down on the side of the road as I drove it home stands out as my favorite). But really to be precise you have to do market research on your customers. If say 1/3rd of your customers want fun cars in the 10K-20K range, then of course your floorplan should reflect this. The other thing which strikes me is the type of clientele you want to attract. Our shop was called Five Star but the owner originally started a lot called Atlantic Auto Sales in 1991, which was located beside the tire shop he also operated. Since he leased the whole building for the tire shop, he kept Atlantic open after starting Five Star in 2002 and put his born-again-Christian “reformed” heroin addict son in charge. Atlantic became the dumping ground for the lesser product and certainly had a more “interesting” clientele. Your shop seems to be more in the Five Star vein, thus I would think you would want to focus on the 10-25K range and then offer some mainstream product in the 25k+ range. I personally know how the business varies from the higher end used to the BHPH side, and I know how sweet the profit can be from BHPH but of course you put up with alot of bulls*it to get it. I would try to become a brand specialist in that mid level range (such as you already do with VW).

            The most recent dealer here I used to have a relationship with specialized in fleet vans and equipment on the cheap (seriously like used cherrypickers and Econolines) and Volvo of all things as he had access to our mutual friend my mechanic. I tried to tell him pick something Japanese such as Honda and build a relationship with the UCMs of the local dealers because people with better credit scores buy Japanese and thus he could write nice paper and move up in the world. But this old guy was set in his ways and then last year he sold his lot to take care of his elderly mum (I think she’s 90). The dealer I went though five years ago for my Pontiac is the local Subaru specialized dealer for his part of 422. He apparently buys all of the Subaru trades from Honda North on 68 and usually buys them from the Subbie dealer up there as well. Much of his product has high miles (120K+) and I look at it like WTF dude get better product. But he retails nearly every Subbie its uncanny. Brand specialization might be something to look at, just my two cents.

            If I was stocking your lot I’d keep most of what you’re doing as is but I would try to get more consistency on the non VW four bangers coming through. Maybe look at Veranos and Cruze under 50K otc for a quicker sale. I’d look at at least one German roadster, maybe Z3/Z4, and I’d put my stick shift street cred into the “fun” cars as opposed to a 5 sedan (as cool as it is). I’d say MX-5 but the truth is the average man I’ve met takes a dim view of “Miata” as a “chick car” but SLK, Z4, TT are acceptable because they are “German” even if they are very similar. The Corvettes look nice but you have two and I don’t think either is a CONV. I’d dump the Volvo C70 and in its place for the chick hardtop CONV I’d pick up a newer Chrysler 200 for much less and save the difference in floorplan. I think the Ford Edge SEL is one of the better value buys you have but I’d stock more stuff like it. Lower miles, but not necessarily as new as can be (the Fusion Titanium is another nice retail offering at 19,9). CD3 Lincoln Zephyr is a screaming deal to me because it is a better appointed Fusion which costs you nothing more on the block but you can price at a slight premium to Fusion/Milan. If you could pick up an MY10 Fusion for cheap you could use it to help sell the Zephyr for slightly more (oh you need a basic sedan sir, here is the Fusion, and for 2K more I can put you in this Zephyr etc).

            I might put a V8 Chrysler LX on the lot unless you think it will attract the wrong kind of attention. H/K didn’t exactly have incredibly good retail, maybe buy a vajayjay edition FWD Sorento or maybe one of whatever the Kia Sonota sedan is called (because if it looks cool it must be fast). Maybe a PDR Camcord if you can locate one without 376K and still can turn a profit on.

            Trucks are hard to buy these days but I agree you need at least one pickup. I’m not sure which of the four majors is the easiest to finance but I’d figure it out and that’s the one I’d buy an example of, or if your going to brand specialize (ie Ford/Lincoln) it would be that brand. I certainly wouldn’t give up a nice niche such as Wrangler, but niche only gets you so far.

            Additional: Your Eldo, is that consignment or floorplan?

          • 0 avatar

            Lots of good advice and I think we share the same school of thought on much of it. As any other dealer, I have a handful of ‘not ready for primetime’ purchases waiting for odds and ends, among them…
            -’12 Fusion SE V6 w/Sport Appearance – 32k Mi – Red
            -’13 Fusion SE 1.6EB w/Leather – 38k Mi – Blk
            -’12 300C (Nav, polished whls, no roof) – 44k Mi – Dk Blue
            -’12 Escape XLT I4 – 52k Mi – Blk
            -’13 VW Beetle TDI (Leather, Roof, Nav) – 19k Mi – Red
            I also, have two ’09 Rio sedans (one 5MT, one Auto), an ’04 Sebring Convertible w/32k actual, an ’85 Lincoln Town Car, and an ’87 LTD…but those are a whole ‘nother story.

            I think the Fusions will make excellent switch cars along your line of reasoning versus the Titanium, especially the ’13 which I interesting paid $100 LESS for than the ’12…go figure.

            The interesting thing about pickups is that I tend to buy the ones that desperately need a home, but I still manage to retail them for a decent lick. By which I mean oddly-equipped nominally-undesirable configurations. My four most recent pickups were:
            *’03 Tundra V6 Reg Cab – 65k Miles – AFC-owned (someone lost their floorplan) – dents ALL OVER the bed and doors, but a solid truck. Retailed to a guy in Missouri.
            *’10 Ford F-150 XLT V8 Reg Cab – 84k Miles – FoMoCo retail repo – No pwr, just CD and cruise. Switched out the steelies for a nice set of 5-spoke alloys I found on Craigslist and swapped the cracked black grille for a chrome one from eBay. Took in a ’12 Civic LX w/70k on trade + cash.
            *’01 Ford F-250 SuperCab Lariat – 144k Miles – 2wd V10 gasser – UGH! – Long story, but I bought this one ostensibly for a ‘friend of the owner’ who turned out to have less money than teeth and a FICO that was half of his IQ. Spent more on recon than I did for the truck! Sold last week – secondary finance deal to a nice disabled vet and his wife who want a truck for their dogs and to go camping.
            *’11 Ford F-150 XL V6 Reg Cab – 86k Miles – 8-ft bed and a V6? Double-UGH! – Retailed cash to a guy who owns a pool construction company. Needs to build a fleet.

            The conventional 4-door crew cab truck is so astronomically out of this world its hard to buy one…and if I can rob one, I really just run it back through the chute at Tampa and cash out quickly.

            Two other cars I do well with are MINIs in an interesting color/load-out and base Genesis coupes. All the new car stores buy the loaded up automatic V6s for their used car department; I go for the base/R-SPEC coupes with 6-speeds for the kids.

            I will say that Jeeps have never failed me yet. We’re located in Wrangler Central for whatever reason and we’ve somewhat become known as the place to find a nice Jeep. In fact, in the time I’ve been typing this post, I’m sure about 8 different Wranglers have driven by. Yes, I’m being 100% serious.

            Oh, and the Eldorado is the owner’s, so not on floor. Its a genuine original miles car with factory original top and all. The old Mustang, the bikes, and the Chevy pickup are also all on the arm. So is the million-mile -march Avalanche.

            So what do I owe you for the consulting? :P

          • 0 avatar

            My overall thoughts can be summed up by this:


            New main line sedans plus a CUV and budget convertible? The lineup is strong in South Florida. I also love how the CD4 Fusion EB is within $100 of the CD3 Fusion V6. That’s about right.

            Mini? Base Hyundai Genesis? You do like your niche buys don’t you. Well if it works, run with it right? A niche can make nice margin.

            From the sounds of it you’re becoming the local source for Ford, VW, and Jeep Wrangler product. My hat’s off to you (I literally did take it off when I sat down). My only additional thought is market research on your customers. My current employer is a psychological company and the product I develop/maintain gives employment assessments. Granted I am not the shrink who develops them but I see the value in human data.

            “So what do I owe you for the consulting”

            My kingdom for a dealer plate.

          • 0 avatar

            Will you accept an expired one? In that case, enjoy.

          • 0 avatar

            Why, of course.

          • 0 avatar

            Flybrian I thought YOU were the owner!

  • avatar

    “Wolf-Dieter Kurz says it may be possible to bring a convertible SUV to market once one is found,”

    Check the couch cushions. I often find things there I’ve forgotten about.

  • avatar

    Yay! Tippy cars are back!

    Suzuki called theirs the Samurai, this could be the Hun.

  • avatar

    GLA or GLC convertible? this is all I can think of when I hear that…

  • avatar

    It is April 1st, right?

  • avatar

    It’s never too late for an answer to the Suzuki Samurai.

    • 0 avatar

      Unless it costs $100k, in which case I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind choosing this over a Wrangler Unlimited.

      • 0 avatar

        Well yeah, but people already buy a $100+k G-Wagen over a $35k Wrangler Unlimited with the hardtop. Obviously (based on the number of AMG G-Wagens), the problem is that there’s no Wrangler Hellcat.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    TO: MB World-Wide-Office-of-Domination
    From: MBUSA Dealers
    Are you dumber than Forrest Gump? This thing should have been rolling out of the Alabama plant yesterday. We have thousands of customers who are stupid enough to pay 300% more than a Jeep Wrangler with a negligible amount of increased performance. This will sell better than off the rack suits that cost more than custom made and “designer” items whose label of origin is the only thing made/sewn on in the home country. Those are our clients and they will love this.

    TO: The Genius Herr Professor Doktors at MBWWOD
    From: Concerned Employee
    Dumb-asses,an American GI smoking Luckies and driving an original jeep, and this thing is a close copy, kicked (great)grandpa’s ass. The Americans have had over 60 years to perfect their Jeep. Jeep basically carried AMC and made Chrysler worth salvaging. No one in their right mind will pay 2 or 3 times as much for a “Mercedes Jeep” convertible

  • avatar

    The world’s most expensive Isuzu Amigo

  • avatar

    A certain former EIC would have had a field day with this.

  • avatar

    Shoud’ve plunked some Mcverts in Jurassic World. Dat flick well on the road to $1bn in it’s 2nd wknd.

    Instead we saw 22 year old Jeep Sahara that started for kids after bit of gramps homely mechanics.

  • avatar

    I hope it’s as nice as the Murano CrossCabriolet.


  • avatar

    Mercedes switched their business a while ago from selling reliable, robust vehicles to those who care about that kind of thing, to milking people with more money than sense. Their reputation in China, though, isn’t what it is in Europe or the Middle East, so luring in the suckers there is more of an uphill endeavor.

  • avatar

    Old hat. SsangYong did this on Mercedes mechanicals, witness the SsangYong Musso line up.

  • avatar

    German Suzuki Samurai. Awesome.

  • avatar

    Average TTAC commenter:

    1. Doesn’t read article
    2. Sees picture of Mercedes G convertible, doesn’t know G convertible was produced & sold from 1979 until 2013, albeit not in the US
    3. Makes unfunny Suzuki Samurai joke

    This site has turned into

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