Mercedes-Benz, Only With Less Fun
There’s a plan afoot to more carefully align Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. product offerings with consumer demand, all the while saving the automaker money. The result, Automotive News reports, will be a lineup lacking the flair and whimsy the brand once enjoyed.
Fans of two-door variants, especially, stand to lose out under this new strategy.
According to a late-June dealer webinar and sources close to the company, M-B plans to axe most coupe and convertible models in the U.S. market.
While retailers said Mercedes-Benz CEO Nicholas Speeks told them that seven models rest on the automaker’s chopping block, another source claims that number could be higher. Specifically, M-B is reportedly planning to cut the convertible and coupe versions of the C-, E-, and S-Class models, leaving only sedans and crossovers behind. Also destined for death is the niche CLS four-door coupe (a model that’s recently come into its own, though perhaps too anonymously), and one of the GT models.
Talk of a model cull is nothing new; even before the pandemic reached these shores, it was known that M-B wished to pare down its offerings in the face of growing financial pressures. Passengers cars aren’t the draw they used to be, and electric vehicle development has a way of shrinking a company’s billfold. Parent Daimler recently suggested that very high-end vehicles and EVs will be its core brand’s savior in the near term.
Meanwhile, AMG-ified crossovers and “crossover coupes” proliferate throughout the lineup, boosting margins and revenue, while new additions like the small but roomy GLB stand to gain Benz new buyers in the low-priced range. None of these products are as sexy as a pillarless coupe or carefree cabriolet, of course.
Yet the drive to reduce complexity continues.
Speaking to AN, Jeff Aiosa, owner of Mercedes-Benz of New London in Connecticut, said, “Reducing model proliferation is good. We’ve been asking for that,” adding, “Whether or not seven models is enough, time will tell.”
Officially, the supposedly looming discontinuations remain unconfirmed.
[Images: Daimler AG]
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