Model Discontinuations Coming Down the Pipe, Mercedes-Benz Dealer Says
Like most automakers, notably Honda and Ford, Mercedes-Benz is under pressure to pare back build configurations, and perhaps even entire models, to ease complexity. In this age of falling sales and costly investments in futuristic tech, the vehicle buffet can no longer be all-you-can-eat affair.
With that in mind, participants of a recent national Mercedes-Benz dealer meeting walked away with a better idea of the brand’s future lineup. Expect death notices within a few months, one dealer claims.
Speaking to Automotive News, the unidentified dealer said model discontinuations are in the works, with the announcements poised to drop likely within 90 days. “We are going to see models go away within the next 12 months,” the individual said in the wake of the May 8th Las Vegas meeting.
Options and equipment packages can also expect a haircut, attendees said. It’s a move the unnamed dealer agrees with.
“It’s 14 pages, and there’s a hundred choices on each of the 14 pages,” he said, comparing the automaker’s slate of offerings to a Cheesecake Factory menu. “I need a Ph.D. to figure out what the hell I want. I just want a chicken Caesar salad.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of leaner product offerings from Mercedes-Benz. As longtime CEO Dr. Z heads off to retirement, his successor, Ola Källenius, hasn’t exactly been tight-lipped about the possibly of a model cull.
“We have had about 20 years of almost uninterrupted broadening of the portfolio, especially on the SUV side, if you look at how successful that has been over the years,” Källenius told Top Gear last fall. “[Between] 2020-2022 this will take us to well above 40 models. And even if we love every one of our ‘children’, and we do, we must be very rational. We must not hesitate to slim down as well.”
More recently, Källenius, who takes over as Daimler CEO on May 22nd, complained about a bloated lineup during a media Q&A at last month’s Shanghai auto show. “We have a little bit more than 40 models now,” he said, adding that M-B could consolidate a “model or two.”
Dietmar Exler, who resigned as Mercedes-Benz USA CEO last week, told AN recently, “We need to take a close look at what segments, what niches, are big enough for us that they make sense for us to compete in them.”
“We will not go into a niche if it makes economically no sense,” he added.
As you’d expect, the models judged most likely to meet their end on Källenius’ chopping block are two-door passenger cars, most likely the coupe and convertible versions of the S-Class and C-Class sedans. Earlier this year, M-B announced the discontinuation of the slow-selling SLC roadster.
[Images: Daimler AG]
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