Mercedes-Benz eliminating 19 of 33 body styles over next seven years
Ever since Ola Kallenius took over the CEO position at Mercedes-Benz in 2019, the Swede has been hacking at, pruning, and trimming the company's structure and model portfolio. Car and Driver reports another massive cull is about to commence. After journalist Georg Kacher spoke to Mercedes managers at two primary locations in Germany, he wrote, "Based on what we've seen, of the 33 body styles Mercedes currently offers between Europe and the U.S., only 14 will survive." As is always the case in these refinements to boost market share, ROI, and brand expression, the front-line soldiers getting mowed down first are coupes, convertibles and wagons. One manager told Kacher, "At the end of the day, we simply don't need estate cars [wagons] or underperforming two-door offerings to boost volumes."
We knew the A-Class is toast, and the C-Class and E-Class coupe and convertible quartet will morph into two cars, a CLE-Class coupe and convertible. The CLS-Class has been on death row for three years and gets the guillotine in 2024. The AMG GT 4-Door has spent less than five years on the market and will apparently follow the CLS into oblivion in either 2024 or 2025. A new 4-Door will arrive in 2026 powered by a battery instead of a big ol' honkin' hybrid V8, accompanied by a battery-electric AMG GT coupe, as well as a slightly roomier AMG SL in Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-Maybach variants.
Mercedes revealed the latest GLC last summer, and the latest GLE a few days ago. They will get new generations as proper four-door crossovers only as their coupe trims will not be making the transition.
And Europe can say goodbye to the C-Class wagon in 2028 and the E-Class wagon in 2030. The next-gen CLA-Class moves to battery power in 2025 and will offer the final shooting brake in the lineup. It's possible two more entire product ranges among the B-Class, GLA-Class and GLB-Class will get the axe.
The only niche models the brand will tolerate are the ones bringing in huge money, the so-called "Top-End" like Maybach trims and the Mythos run of limited editions. The traditionally facing Mercedes models, called "Core Luxury," will focus on luxurious ease for occupants inside the car as well as out with features like larger batteries, faster charging capabilities, and longer ranges. Kacher said he was told, "The most essential elements of sustainable contemporary luxury cars are space and time ... That's our No. 1 priority — not another fancy body style, a model that only works in Europe, or one last stab at a dying segment."
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