Over the last couple of decades the German brands have more than doubled their product portfolios; chasing numerous niche segments. The strategy has left Mercedes-Benz and its German rivals with bloated product portfolios, but Mercedes is going to correct course shortly.
Recently Mercedes-Benz USA hosted dealerships at a national meeting in Las Vegas. According to dealerships in attendance, Mercedes told its dealership base that it will be trimming its U.S. lineup over the coming year, reports Automotive News.
The news comes as little surprise. As Mercedes has chased niche segments and fragmented portions of the market, it has escalated its costs considerably. Each nameplate requires its own marketing effort, additional manufacturing expense and downstream impacts of requiring dealerships to inventory more nameplates.
“We are going to see models go away within the next 12 months,” one dealer stated to Automotive News who attended the closed-door meeting and asked not to be identified. “Within the next 90 days, we might see some of those announcements.”
Mercedes did not disclose to dealerships which nameplates are on the chopping block, but hints have been dropped regarding a few possibilities over the last few months. The brand has already confirmed plans to discontinue the two-seater SLC roadster, while executives have suggested the market for both the C Class and S Class Coupe and Convertible models has shrunk to the point of questioning these models future.
Given the seismic shift in consumer preference from cars to utility vehicles over the last few years, Mercedes is expected to retain many of the niche coupe crossovers the brand that have largely led the brand’s ballooning lineup in recent years, leaving cars has the likely choice for chopping.
In addition to cutting nameplates, trim levels are also expected to be reduced in the next year. Again, Mercedes did not supply dealerships with many details here either. That said, Mercedes current trim and options is a vast buffet with most of its nameplates; to the point of confusion for both dealership and consumer.