Mercedes Boss Says There Aren’t Many Niches Left To Fill

Few automakers have been looking to fill as many niches as Mercedes-Benz in recent years. In fact, the brand’s portfolio is now so crammed with different models that even Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche admits most niches have been filled.

When asked by Top Gear if the brand could eventually run out of ideas, Zetsche said that the brand’s range can be confusing but that as long as Mercedes continues to outsell BMW and Audi, it doesn’t matter.

“Of course, every new car we launch has some ‘substitution aspects’ to the existing portfolio. But typically we have a higher cannibalization impact on our competition, which is what we are aiming for!

“If you were in the times of Henry Ford, he would say ‘you can have all the versions you want as long as they are Model T’. We’re not in that world any more.

“There’s a level of fragmentation where even the customer might get confused, and you’re not adding value any more, and to find the right balance there is certainly not easy,” Zetsche admitted.

One way for Mercedes-Benz to avoid confusion between similar models, like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Mercedes-AMG GT four-door, is to venture into entirely new segments of the market. With the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, the company has done just that.

“More recently we have made some significant moves. Look at the X-Class, for example. Moving into pick-ups – that’s not just a minor niche, it’s a substantial move forward.

“There are not that many niches left to fill, of course. But, we stay creative and innovative. I can’t tell you what ideas we will have tomorrow. But we have a pretty full picture,” the chairman concluded.

As for where Mercedes will look to expand in the future, that remains unclear. Producing a high-performance AMG version of the X-Class is one possible move. Additionally, the Mercedes EQ brand is sure to open up a plethora of new opportunities for the automaker, including the already-confirmed electric crossover as well as numerous other passenger models.

If you thought the Mercedes range was already confusing, things won’t get any easier to understand.

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  • roy

    Ya think ?!

  • LWOAP

    Well maybe this wouldn’t be a problem if MB weren’t constantly filling every niche out there.

  • lagunas3ca

    Considering the X-Class isn’t sold in the USA, the largest and most profitable truck market in the world, I would say it is a minor niche.

  • sean tooher

    if that’s his opinion he should be sacked …. old man syndrome ….

  • kachuks

    Motorcycles and golf carts.

  • Elmediterraneo

    I’m gonna tell you what they should do at AMG :
    1 – Bring the SL back to its roots by ditching the luxury roadster concept (which is useless now since the S-class convertible is available) and give that name to their next sportscar known currently as the AMG GT.
    SL is an iconic name in Mercedes history which means Sport and Light and that would be a much better name rather than the mainstream “GT” which is used by all manufacturers.
    2 – Speaking of GT, this name should be kept only to the 4 door AMG GT and would make a clear difference between the 4 door GT and the lighter 2 door SL.
    3 – Developing a new rear-mid engined hybrid supercar who can follow the path of the Project One and compete against McLaren, Ferrari or Lamborghini. Just like Aston Martin will make a “mainstream” supercar following the Valkyrie.

  • Kagan

    Well you can start make your line-up more beautiful!

  • Joe E

    I am honestly curious how many drivers of, say the GLE, even know what model they drive beyond “a Mercedes SUV.” I remember a friends mom talking all about how she just got a new “Mercedes Kompressor” back when the C-class had that badge on the trunklid back in the late ’90s.

  • SteersUright

    MB is on a roll. Excellent lineup offering almost everyone something interesting. Maybe now, just focus on longevity and reliability and be the first German company to make a solid, reliable car that can be held on to for years instead of 1 lease term.

  • Colby Rod

    quality should be the top priority for a company of this magnitude. Sales will not dissolve for Mercedes so that priority should take a backseat. Providing the best quality car in the world should be the mission, not outselling BMW and Audi.

  • smartacus

    Dieter Zetsche needs to be fired!
    Not many niches left to be filled?
    How about rwd compact sedan?

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