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]
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.
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.
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