Model Discontinuations Coming Down the Pipe, Mercedes-Benz Dealer Says

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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  • Stuki Stuki on May 20, 2019

    As more cars get leased and or lo/no down financed, and as leases/terms get more aggressive, they all have to do this. When "everyone" who drives a car off the lot, is upside down for three years or more, predictable residuals starts becoming the driving factor. And that means: Enough sales, and resales, of each variation to have the numbers to make those residuals more predictable.

    • Onyxtape Onyxtape on May 20, 2019

      The ads popping up in my social media are some pretty ridiculous leases. $450/month for a USED C-class. Or $51,000 for a loaded up A-class.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on May 20, 2019

    I haven't seen any particular sign that Mercedes are better built than much less expensive cars. Part of their high price these days has surely been in that expansion to serve every possible niche in the market. Juggling 40 models? Not cheap. In the older days until Mercedes were exposed as an old-timey kind of manufacturer by "The machine that changed the world" book in 1990, the extra money went into the product. Now they're as skinflint cheap as anyone else, but the legend lives on in the minds of customers, and in the bloated mind of their chief designer Gorden Wagener who actually lives near San Diego for that peculiar California light and its effects on body shape. He needs to get back to the smog of Stuttgart, roll up his sleeves and get on with it instead of parading around extolling his own virtues as a design paragon, while issuing coffee table books. MB needs a slim down all right. Getting rid of some of the pseuds and hangers-on would be a good start for the new CEO.

    • Serpens Serpens on May 21, 2019

      Wagener has done nothing but expand the global appeal of the brand. You may hate his brand, but he’s a great designer.

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  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.