Mercedes to Trim U.S. Model Lineup
Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz unit plans to reduce the number of nameplates and model variants it offers in the U.S. over the next year, Automotive News reports.
The carmaker told dealers about the strategy during the brand’s annual meeting earlier this month in Las Vegas, according to unnamed attendees. Mercedes declined to comment.
Mercedes currently offers 15 models in the U.S.—including the recently introduced A-Class compact sedan—with nearly 90 trim levels, equipment packages and powertrain options. The luxury marque plans to add the GLB crossover later this year, followed by the all-electric EQC crossover.
But several slow-selling models are on the chopping block. The company previously said it will discontinue the SLC Roadster next year. The low-volume coupe and convertible versions of the company’s C- and S-Class are other likely candidates for extinction, AN predicts.
Announcements could be made by August and take effect for the 2020 and 2021 model years, dealers tell AN. At the same time, some popular option packages will be standardized, while those with lower take rates will be eliminated.
A similar paring is expected in other markets. Incoming CEO Ola Kallenius hinted last month that a “model or two” of more than 40 the company currently offers worldwide may be on the way out.
Mercedes has been the top-selling luxury brand in America for the last three years. German rivals BMW and Audi also have expanded their U.S. offerings in recent years, with 14 and 17 nameplates, respectively. The use of more flexible vehicle architectures has enabled the trend by sharing development costs across models. But AN notes that each additional model drives up marketing and inventory costs.