High-up figures at Mercedes-Benz have given an insight into what is set to be one of the biggest shake-ups to the marque’s model line-up in its history, and the changes are coming soon.
Divulging the details to Car and Driver, these top managers have indicated a renewed focus on luxury and upmarket positioning, as well as global platforms, in order to boost profits. That will entail a more exclusive line-up with far fewer body styles.
"At the end of the day, we simply don't need estate cars or underperforming two-door offerings to boost volumes," a senior member of Mercedes-Benz's strategy team told the American outlet.
"The most essential elements of sustainable contemporary luxury cars are space and time That's our number one priority, not another fancy body style, a model that only works in Europe, or one last stab at a dying segment."
Cutting words which as you’ll read are far from empty. Up for the chop are a number of two-door models and estates including C-Class and E-Class coupes and load luggers. The Coupes will bow out sooner, but the estates will be gone by 2028 and 2030 respectively, when the current and upcoming generations are due to be replaced.
Unsurprising too is that the next CLA – due in 2025 as an EV – will also be the marque’s last Shooting Brake sold in Europe. The CLS is also set to bow out entirely in 2024, with a new four-door coupe taking its place in 2026.
Perhaps more surprising and certainly indicative of the marque’s commitment to streamlining, is the number of high-riding cars set to bow out, with the GLE and GLC coupe lines set to conclude after their next generations.
The biggest performance hitter going down? The AMG GT Four-Door, which will not get a successor. It’s set to leave the line-up no later than 2025. Happily, the SL and AMG GT sportscars will soldier on and be pushed upmarket, with the former getting the Maybach treatment before too long. Both will live into next generations as EVs too. As a whole Maybach and AMG will be getting a bigger push, with talk also of an expansion of the G-Class family.
The upmarket push in Mercedes’ strategy will also see the introduction of the Mercedes Mythos line of cars. First into the hands of collectors will be an SL-based Speedster. Beyond that, expect to see a lot more special creations to come – few in production numbers and great in profit margins for the three-pointed star.
Needless to say, the push upwards means that life for the entry-level models – anything with an A or B suffix – is going to change dramatically. As early as May last year, Mercedes revealed it would be whittling the number of entry-level offerings from seven down to four, with future products to feature an emphasis on ‘technological substance’. As above, we know the CLA will live on for now but how Mercedes-badged hatchbacks fit into all this remains to be seen.
The overall strategy and reshaped lineup will strangely reflect the situation Mercedes has involuntarily found itself in over the last couple of years and the prevailing buyer trends. With the much-talked-about supply chain issues, the marque has focused on the production of high-value, higher-margin models, and higher specifications overall but with reduced volume. The result has been a notable-enough rise in revenues in spite of a drop in units sold.