If you’ve been trying to follow Mercedes-Benz over the last half decade or so, you know as well as anyone that the German automaker is nothing if not prolific. For any and every conceivable gap in the marketplace, they have a model — and that’s a strategy the company will actually reverse in the coming years, according to a recent Automotive News report. Rather than continue to expand what is, to some, an already bewilderingly complicated lineup, Mercedes will cut its model offerings by at least seven over the next few years.
Those details reportedly come from Nicholas Speeks, Mercedes-Benz’s American division head, in a webinar to U.S. dealers. The CEO did not explicitly mention which models would hit the chopping block, though he did tell those on the webinar that their current lineup is unsustainable given the current economic situation, according to what dealers told the media.
“Do we need all of the products we currently have?” For its part, the company itself has not yet released a plan to trim its lineup, though Speeks does hit on a point that resonates with some dealers and customers alike. Omitting all the variants within each model lineup (like the AMG versions), Mercedes sells nearly thirty different models in the U.S. market alone. In the wake of sliding revenues and a push toward electrification and autonomous driving, the company is reportedly looking to trim some fat by cutting more niche cars from the lineup.
To be clear, mainstays like the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class will remain on sale for the foreseeable future. However, we will supposedly see a cull of two-door versions of these cars, as well as their convertible counterparts. Generally coupes aren’t hot sellers anyway, and that’s particularly true in the luxury space. Current rumors also suggest relatively new models like the CLS and AMG GT 4-Door will also see the ax, while the brand will usher in new electric models to the fold.
Jeff Aiosa, the owner of a Mercedes-Benz dealer in Connecticut, had more to say on the issue. “Reducing model proliferation is good. We’ve been asking for that. Whether or not seven models is enough, time will tell.” One dealer reportedly compared the brand’s current offerings to the menu at Cheesecake Factory. As Autoblog points out, the company is in the midst of a major shift, as it seeks to trim several billion dollars from its operating overhead by cutting 20,000 jobs globally. To that end, it’s not going to build sedans in the U.S. anymore, and it may ultimately end up with a more streamlined lineup over time.
As for which models meet their demise, we’ll have more information when Mercedes does officially comment.