In May of 2022, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new strategy for the future which involves shifting its product offerings to a more upscale and high-end market, with the aim of improving financial performance. At that time, details were not provided, but now there is a clearer understanding of which models will be discontinued and what new ones will be introduced.
To gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives on the uncertain or nonexistent future of wagons, coupes, and convertibles, we spoke with several senior managers from Untertürkheim and Sindelfingen. The shift in strategy is linked to Mercedes’ revised definition of luxury, focusing on creating products that emphasize personal mobility services, reducing driver stress, and prioritizing comfort as a central aspect of the brand. This new product lineup may result in improved profitability; however, it will result in a reduced number of models that generate emotional connections. Out of the 33 different body styles that Mercedes currently offers in Europe and the US, it is expected that only 14 will remain.
Car manufacturers have gradually been phasing out traditional vehicle styles in recent years. Ford created a stir by ending production on many of its standard cars, such as the Focus and Fusion, to focus on producing more SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. Chevrolet also followed by discontinuing cars like the Impala and Cruze. It is due to changing public preferences, which have shifted towards crossovers and trucks rather than traditional cars and station wagons. Automakers cannot afford to continue producing whole lines of vehicles that are unlikely to sell well and sit on dealership lots, even if it disappoints fans of sedans or other car enthusiasts.
However, there may be a bright side for Mercedes-Benz wagons. According to Autocar’s sources, the vehicles replacing wagons in the lineup during the electric vehicle era will be “more aerodynamic and low-riding SUVs” that is more efficient. These vehicles may resemble wagons in appearance and function, even if they are referred to as something else.
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The discontinuation of Mercedes-Benz wagons, especially in the US, is not unexpected, as the market for wagons has declined due to low sales. Volkswagen has already discontinued its wagons, and Volvo is eliminating many road-going wagons this year. The remaining wagons are either off-road models like the new E-Class All-Terrain or expensive high-performance wagons like the Audi RS6 Avant. There is no practical reason to keep wagons.
The W206-generation C-Class, which has been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and semiconductor shortages, will only be offered as a sedan when it finally arrives in Australia in March. This results in only a limited selection of mid-size wagons from premium brands being accessible to customers in Australia, including the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring, and Volvo V60 Cross Country.
Despite the shift away from wagons, Mercedes-Benz has several exciting vehicles in the pipeline. This year, the brand’s high-performance division, Mercedes-AMG, will introduce a new GT coupe based on the SL roadster. Additionally, there will be an expanded lineup for the SL roadster, which will feature a new Maybach option. Mercedes-Benz has plans for the future, including a four-door coupe, an updated SL with increased storage and room in the rear seats, a new AMG GT coupe, and a large GLG-class SUV that will operate on an electric MMA platform, all set to be released in 2026.
Mercedes-Benz recently announced its plan to shift to all-electric vehicles, but with a caveat. The company stated that this transition would only happen in markets with sufficient demand for electric cars. This announcement was made during a recent update on the company’s EV strategy, which is in line with other automotive companies shifting towards electric powertrains. However, what sets Mercedes apart is that their promise to go all-electric depends on external factors.
Mercedes-Benz has plans to concentrate on its high-end brands, such as AMG and Maybach, with rumors of a wealthy V-class van in the works. The company will also introduce its new Mythos series, a collection of ultra-luxury and rare vehicles, including a new version of the Gullwing, a four-door pickup truck based on the G-class, and a sports car inspired by the SL.