By on July 27, 2020

Image: Daimler AG

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.

Daimler

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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26 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz, Only With Less Fun...”


  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’m sorry I don’t see a rational dealer asking its mfg for fewer models. I can see them wanting fewer models on the must stock list though.

    Most convertible buyers are convertible buyers and those customers will be lost.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The more variants the manufacturer offers, the higher the likelihood that the dealer won’t have what the customer wants. That’s been the genius of Honda all these years – a very tight product lineup with limited number of trims and colors

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        There is a difference between having fewer models and having fewer versions of a particular model.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          Dealers only have so much space and so much money. They don’t want to be forced to take a handful of niche models (because dealers are usually forced by the OEM to take them) just so they can capture a few more niche consumers. They would rather have more GLEs, GLCs etc instead. It’s not profitable for MB to build the niche models if they are built for order only (because these models are getting increasingly niche worldwide, not just in the US).

          There are plenty of consumers who are interested in those high volume mainstream models that will gladly buy a BMW or Audi instead because the MB dealer doesn’t have one that fits their wants/budget in stock though.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            The whole “being forced to take them” is generally the fate of all of those manuals everyone claims they want to buy.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            As someone who tried to buy a Honda Accord manual recently, I can assure you no Honda dealers are being forced to take them, or considering taking them, or even dreaming about taking them. They are very hard to locate.

      • 0 avatar
        d27XHy5HG

        With all the option choices, whoever does the buying at the dealership never has a car on the lot with what I want.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Those niche models won’t all be gone forever. Some of them will be resurrected as special editions, with limited production and higher prices.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I can’t remember the last time I saw a newish 4-seat convertible. If nobody wants them, don’t make them

  • avatar
    dwford

    We are on the long slow decline toward the EV skateboard platforms. It won’t be too long until each automaker has their one skateboard platform, and everything is built of that.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      That may not be the worst thing, as long as it enables easy production of more niche vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Giskard

        My thoughts exactly. I’m hoping the EV skateboards/platforms make it easier to open up more options even if most would have to be built-to-order rather than being stocked on every dealer lot. I would be very interested in a smaller electric coupe with a convertible top. The only electric coupe I can think of at the moment is the MINI and it’s not available as a convertible (yet). The range and power aren’t as high as I’d like either.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        This would be like the custom coach builders from the 20’s through the 50’s. You could have a LeBaron bodied Tesla. Or a Pininfarina or Bertone bodied limited edition based off of the Volkswagen MBQ platform.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    This should teach those upstart Colonists to drive Lexuseses… /S

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    You get a dumb looking crossover…and you get a dumb looking crossover…EVERYONE gets a dumb looking crossover!

    Anti-CUV snark aside, I get it – nobody buys coupes or convertibles anymore, and we’re heading into lean years, so it makes sense to build what sells, versus what’s sexy. But I think we should still mourn the loss of what’s sexy.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I look at Mercs from the last 10-years and don’t see a car you’d want to own past the warranty or buy used. They look like something you lease, not buy for the long-haul.

  • avatar
    JMII

    As someone who owns not one but 2 TWO door coupes this is depressing.

    It appears the master plan is working. Step 1 kill all the manual transmission cars so there is nothing fun to drive anymore. Step 2 kill anything that isn’t a boring CUV, SUV or expensive pickup further killing off the urge to even bother driving. Step 3 introduce the driver-less electric pod in which you are just as passenger. You’ve been warned… pretty soon driving for pleasure will be as old school as using a phone with a cord that plugs into a wall.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I guess all these companies are just throwing that money away because… they’re mustache-twirling villains, or something?

      The fact is that the market doesn’t want fun cars and doesn’t justify their existence. That’s not a master plan, it’s the free market at work.

      No need to worry about Step 3, though – it’s impossible, at least on any timeline relevant to us or our children.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Here, let me help your MB.
    First, nuke anything with a 2.0 and a 9 speed DSG.
    There ya go.

  • avatar
    Manic

    There’s still hardtop roadsters SL and SLC available to convertibe crowd.

  • avatar
    d27XHy5HG

    How does MB nickel and diming you on options and with ridiculous mark ups lose money? Last time they tried cutting costs, MBs lost their reputation for solid reliability.

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