Mercedes to Focus on Premium Luxury Vehicles Again

mercedes to focus on premium luxury vehicles again

Mercedes-Benz has said it will cut back its entry-level offers to better prioritize premium vehicles with loftier margins. While this strategy has become relatively uncommon throughout the industry, even among some mainstream brands, Mercedes has historically been synonymous with high-end luxury cars. One wonders why it bothered chasing volume to begin with, especially since it doesn’t seem to have panned out for the company.

While executives had previously hinted at its revised strategy in interviews, Mercedes officially unveiled its plan to investors on Thursday. The German brand will focus investments on top-of-the-heap models like the S-Class at the expense of entry-level products that have failed to garner juicy profits.

“What has always been the core of our brand is now also the core of our strategy: the luxury segment. We are further sharpening the focus of our business model and product portfolio in order to maximise [sic] the potential of Mercedes-Benz even in challenging conditions. At the heart of that is our goal to build the world’s most desirable cars,” stated Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group.

The company is basically taking into account today’s supply chain constraints (e.g. chip shortages, bottlenecks, increasing cost), realizing that volume-focused models with lower MSRPs won’t net it the same kind of profits as a few six-figure G 550. We only need this year’s financial metrics to see that plan in action. In the first quarter of 2022, Mercedes sold 10 percent fewer vehicles than the same period in 2021 (which was already a lean year). However, its profits were up by a whopping 20 percent within the same timeframe.

From MB:

Mercedes-Benz will recalibrate its product portfolio, allocating more than 75 [percent] of its investments to develop products for the most profitable market segments. As part of this sharpened strategy, Mercedes-Benz aims to grow the sales share of its Top-End vehicles by around 60 [percent] by 2026 versus 2019 and intends to achieve higher quality growth and a further significant increase in profitability and resilience, striving for an operating margin target of approximately 14 [percent] by mid of the decade in favourable [sic] market conditions. This greater focus on the top end of the market should enable the company to deliver a strong financial result even under more challenging market conditions. The company’s strategic decision to become fully electric by 2030 – wherever market conditions allow – and the ambition to become CO2-neutral by 2039 are integral elements to enhance the connection between luxury and sustainability.

In 2021, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class reported an increase of 40 percent. Meanwhile, the high-performance AMG and uber-luxury Maybach arms set records of their own. Mercedes believes that the market for premium vehicles will remain strong, whereas entry-level products will not.

To account for this, it’s going to rejigger its product portfolio and development team to focus on Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach, “Top-End” models from Mercedes-EQ, the S-Class, the G-Class, and the GLS. There will also be some room carved out for limited-edition models and exclusive collaboration vehicles, though the company did not get into specifics.

Meanwhile, its more humble products, such as the A-Class, will be seeing fewer variants. We may even witness some models being removed from the lineup in the coming years. Customers that decide to order from Mercedes will soon notice that sweeping equipment packages will replace some individual options. The company said that reducing complexity will allow it to offer compressive packages based upon regional trends while saving itself a lot of trouble during production. It also allows the brand to charge more in most cases, broadening profit margins.

However, this will require some tweaking at the factory. Executives have explained that they’re not interested in chasing volume, but that they’ll still need to retool some facilities to optimize new production routines. Though your author would argue that there’s nothing luxurious about nixing built-to-order vehicles.

Markus Schäfer, head of development at Daimler, was quoted as saying by Automotive News, that the transition toward reduced complexity will dramatically change logistics in just about every market it currently occupies. But he remained confident that it would ultimately benefit Mercedes’ bottom line.

“The willingness to pay is there,” he said. “Many, many customers are ready to pay the extra price for luxury.”

[Image: Franz12/Shutterstock]

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  • J lu J lu on May 23, 2022

    "Though your author would argue that there’s nothing luxurious about nixing built-to-order vehicles." Absolutely correct. Luxury and exclusivity demand personalizing a vehicle not paying for bloated option packages, many of which contain items and features not wanted or used. The manufacturers make their profit by loading packages onto customers who really want one or two features but have to pay for several more unwanted features. Mercedes, as are most manufacturers, is now purely profit driven, almost to the detriment of the cars they make. They are in business to make money but that's probably not the approach a "luxury" vehicle manufacturer should boast about. Then again, perhaps customers these days really don't care anymore and just willy-nilly hand over small fortunes for these option loaded cars that often vary only by color. And as we all know, many folks want their car/house/TV/food/coffee/any products...instantly. Few want to wait.

  • Funky D Funky D on May 23, 2022

    So will the "premium" Mercedes herald the return of the bank-vault build quality, the near-eternal longevity of the powertrains, the revival of the Teutonic driving experience, and the end of all the overpriced, breakable plastic parts in the engine bay? I doubt it.

  • Bryan Raab Davis I briefly dated an Australian fellow who was mad for Aspires; one of his better characteristics, if I’m honest.
  • ToolGuy Check out Ferrari's market cap:https://companiesmarketcap.com/automakers/largest-automakers-by-market-cap/
  • ToolGuy • Not sure who you get when you call the "Company phone" number listed on the recall report, but confident that it ISN'T Ferrari (someone either screwed up or made a conscious exception; recall might need a recall; where is my excellence in government that all of you are funding?).• 99% of them are fine.• On later models, additionally, a message will also appear on the vehicle’s dashboard that reads as follows: “Brake fluid level low, Go to dealer slowly”. That right there is classic.• Anyway, this is what happens when you build to a price point... (ba dum tsh!)
  • Art Vandelay And what a giant pile of sh!t ths new format is. Great job guys, way to run off the last of the die hards.
  • Theflyersfan If you ever want a review on a 2022 Mazda MX-5 GT RF, I'll be more than happy to type up a few thousand words and add in some great pictures in front of Churchill Downs for y'all!In a nutshell, I agree with this review. I didn't have a chance to try the Recaro seats because the only test drive available was with another GT that someone backed out in buying so it was being used as a demo. But from what I was told, if you're larger than a 38 waist or taller than 5'10", it gets tight. But with the standard seats, and I'm 5'10" and maybe 20 pounds from the 38 waist, I fit fine. Now getting in and out with the roof up after shoulder surgery (especially leaving the surgery center with most of the right arm under a nerve block) is the total opposite of graceful!!! The look on the nurse's face when the MX-5 pulled up and I'm partially wrapped up like a mummy was priceless.I've had mine since the middle of April and have already put 6,700 miles on it, including round trips from Louisville to Chicago and the Philadelphia suburbs. Averaged 38-39 mpg at a steady 75 mph, and it wasn't a torture chamber. The metal top helped a lot. The standard seats are a bit thin on padding, and there was a bit of squirming by around hour 8 on the Philly drive, but it's possible. But even though this design was released in 2015, I still get compliments from total strangers at stoplights, carwashes, gas stations, restaurants, etc. The Soul Red Metallic paint just makes the car pop. I wish it was available with the Terra Cotta leather (the gray above is available with it), and that it didn't have the standard all in black, because it gets thermonuclear in there with the top down and the sun beating on you, but a minor quibble. But it's just fun. Pure driving fun. The best stick shift in any car today. Solid brakes, excellent handling, a sane amount of power to where you aren't going to get into anything reckless and stupid. After a 12+ hour day at work, there's nothing better than dropping the top and driving the 20 minutes home with the better than I thought it would be Bose stereo playing Moby into my ears through the headrest speakers. Mazda has already announced there will be an NE model so I can't wait for that. It'll be interesting how they will keep the weight down with the expected changes to eke more MPG out of what is already an efficient car.
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