Mercedes Determined To Reduce Its Portfolio In The U.S. Market

Mercedes is reportedly planning to reduce the size of its product portfolio in the US in a bid to take some of the complexity out of it, axing certain model variants, trim levels and engine options.

The German car maker has informed its U.S. dealers about its reduced portfolio plan during a national meeting in Las Vegas on May 8, AutoNews reports.

“We are going to see models go away within the next 12 months,” said one dealer who attended the closed-door meeting. “Within the next 90 days, we might see some of those announcements.”

Also Read: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB To Launch As A Seven-Seater In Frankfurt

According to people present at the meeting, Mercedes will eliminate poor-selling options and equipment packages while offering the most popular ones as standard equipment on certain models or adding them into existing packages.

Mercedes’ nameplates have nearly doubled in the US market since 2000, to 15 models. If you count in engine variants and body styles, the German car maker is currently selling nearly 90 models stateside.

But the inflated product portfolio isn’t a problem exclusive to Mercedes. BMW has also nearly doubled its US offerings to 17 nameplates over the same period, while Audi nearly tripled theirs to 14.

Premium German car makers have been in a “fragmentation arms race” over the last several years, which according to LMC Automotive’s president of global forecasting Jeff Schuster has begun confusing customers – not to mention the stress it puts on companies themselves.

“It has gotten to the point of being just too much to manage customer model confusion, vehicle logistics and manufacturing,” Schuster said. “Each of these models require marketing support, education at the dealer level, even service and parts inventory.”

Mercedes hasn’t told dealers yet which models are considered for the chopping block. We already know that the SLC roadster is going to be discontinued, but low-volume models like the S-Class Coupe and Convertible could also face the axe.

It’s a similar story for the C-Class Coupe and Convertible, which saw their sales tumble by 25 and 31 percent respectively in 2018, according to LMC. “Coupes and convertibles in the sedan segment are niches of niches,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president with AutoForecast Solutions. “Additional versions of passenger car models such as the S-class coupe are less likely to be replaced after the current generation ends.”

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  • Six_Tymes

    I have been saying this for almost 10 years, all car makers have too many models. Good to see a few brands now finally recognizing this and reduce before severe negative affects occur.

    • europeon

      But choice is good. A consumer shouldn’t care about the profits of a certain (niche) model.

    • Stephen G

      Why do they have too many models? They’re obviously still making money because if they didn’t they’d would have been axed a long time ago. If I’m in the market for a C-Class convertible I’m certainly not going to buy a a 4 door “coupe”.

    • Merc1

      Your logic makes no sense. clearly all carmakers don’t have too many models. Some don’t have enough models hence their also ran status. What severe negative effects?

      M

  • Honda NSX-R

    I bet that none of of those models will be the coupe SUVs

  • MAYBE THE GLUT OF SUV’S RECENTLY HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT. PUTTING THE SAME FRONT END ON EVERYTHING DOESN’T HELP MUCH EITHER.
    IT DOESN’T BODE WELL THAT THE PICTURED CARS IN THE ARTICLE ARE COUPES, THE ONLY CARS I’D CONSIDER.

  • Lucius

    Doesn’t help that they’ve adjusted their alpha numeric naming scheme while proliferating all these models. Then they constantly tease and promote new models for MONTHS before they’re released. I don’t know what’s what anymore…and I suspect that has contributed to my lack of interest in the brand.

    • RIGHT? THE EQ THING IS GETTING CONFUSING SINCE SO FAR THEY’RE ALL SUV’S.

  • Elmediterraneo

    We already know that Mercedes is going to kill :
    – the SLC = the 90’s small sportscars are dead. Audi will also kill the TT. BMW developed the Z4 with Toyota. Only Porsche will maintain strongly the 718 below the 911.
    – the S class Coupe and Cabriolet = The SL is an icon that Mercedes can’t afford to lose. So to make that car relevant again they had to merge the development of the next SL within the future AMG GT by building the two models on the same platform. The GT will remain a pure 2 seater sports cars while the SL will be it’s Grand Tourer version with a 2+2 seats configuration. That’s why they had to sacrifice the S-class coupe and cabriolet. But to be logical towards the S-class coupe and the AMG GT coupe, Mercedes has also to release a coupe version of the SL which is now currently rumoured as a roadster only.
    – the E class Coupe and Cabriolet : their end after the current generation was confirmed recently which makes because those models are pointless
    – the C class Coupe and Cabriolet : a german media already announced that those models are coming back at the next generation type 206 and Mercedes needs to offer an alternative to the BMW 4 series.

    The Mercedes coupe / cabriolet line-up in the future will look like :
    C class coupe and cabriolet : affordable 4 seater, most versatile, rivaling the BMW 4 series.
    AMG GT coupe and roadster : the 2 seater sports car
    AMG SL roadster (and maybe coupe too ?) : the 2+2 grand tourer
    Maybach coupe and cabriolet : maybe if Mercedes wants a Rolls-Royce Wraith/Dawn rival in the future by putting something close to Maybach’s Vision 6 concepts to production. But that’s still too early and far away because in the first time, they had to turn Maybach into a pure electric luxury brand (like Lagonda) to get rid of this 20 year old V12 engine before expanding the Maybach brand to specific models and new bodystyles. Until that, Maybach will be only about more luxurious S class limousine and GLS.

    • Merc1

      “- the E class Coupe and Cabriolet : their end after the current generation was confirmed recently which makes it logical because those models are pointless”

      BS. The current E coupe and cabrio made up 25% of the E-Class sales in the U.S. last year. They’re not going to drop those.

      M

  • GobbleUp

    Duh. What did you think was going to happen!

  • eb110americana

    I think a good one would be to drop all of the non-S AMG models. I understand that the top rung is worth some extra over a “regular” AMG, but chances are that if someone has skipped over entry, midrange, and premium Mercedes trims to go straight for the AMG, then they want the fastest one. Just make the “S” upgrades standard on all AMGs, drop the “S” badges, and be done with it. Maybe have an extra stiff suspension with sport seats as an option in some cars if buyers might prefer straight line speed with a more relaxed ride, but that doesn’t need to be it’s own model.

  • charlotteharry57

    Ya think? THAT’S why I keep complaining about the “one new model a week” (and one per day if you count all the German brands; “model” includes new trim variations) released because of bored German engineers and designers. It’s OUTRAGEOUS.

  • erly5

    “Coupes and convertibles in the sedan segment are niches of niches” – that would infer that sedans are in a niche segment.

  • Stephen G

    I thought that MB only built coupes?

  • europeon

    We’re talking about cars, not about ice cream flavors. It’s a different thing.
    Having choice is good for consumer. If they have to wear an “uniform”, at least they should be able to tailor it.
    This has nothing to do with big corporations deciding that some (niche or even halo) products don’t generate enough revenues compared to the mainstream models.

  • Merc1

    This isn’t being done due to confusion, it’s because they’re going to introduce even more models in the future, all electric. The only cars that are going away are slow sellers. Mercedes will have just as many models as before once it’s all said and done.

    M

  • Bash

    Yeah, the coupes and convertibles are the first logical types of cars that came to my mind before reading the article. Not a surprise at all. Besides leaving space for more SUVs and soon the EQ family of cars.

  • Alexandro Pietro

    Mercedes will dedicate to produce weapons…

  • nastinupe

    Yeah… having the CLS and the AMG GT Sedan kind of makes no sense to me. Just get rid of the CLS and make a cheaper version the AMG GT Sedan. Maybe like a 400 hp version.

  • SteersUright

    They’ve also just plain lost their focus. None of the latest MB vehicles are truly desirable nor beautiful aside from AMG GT. They are all just mundane, German luxury cars whereas Audi and BMW are putting out much more interesting stuff these days.

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