While slumping sales meant that coupe and convertible models all but evaporated from most mainstream car brand showrooms years ago, luxury marques like Mercedes-Benz have thus far managed to hold on longer to their two-door passenger cars. That era appears to be under threat if a new report from Automotive News is to be believed.
According to the auto industry trade publication, Mercedes is poised to substantially whittle down its model portfolio in the US as SUVs continue to take an ever-bigger bite out of passenger-car sales. Models in the crosshairs are said to include coupe and convertible iterations of the, and lines. In addition, the "four-door coupe" and at least one variant of the GT sports car family are also said to be on the chopping block. The news apparently stems from an online webinar between Nicholas Speeks, the three-pointed star's US CEO, and American dealers in late June.
This news follows Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant in favor of SUVs. Similarly, Benz's most affordable sedan, the , will reportedly cease production in Mexico.that Daimler is sunsetting production in its
Graceful two-door automobiles-- particularly those with no B-pillar -- have long been a hallmark of Mercedes-Benz's brand, but as Automotive News notes, over the last five years, luxury car sales have tanked to the tune of 37%, even as crossovers have zoomed to a 73% increase. With those kind of headwinds, it's not surprising that even a premier luxury brand with thicker profit margins can't afford to continue building as many niche two-door models.
Mercedes has responded to market trends with an enlarged lineup of SUVs to meet demand, plus it has had to devote an increasingly part of its budget sheet to electric vehicles. Those market forces have meant greater strain on Stuttgart's R&D and production budgets, but it's also meant an increased burden on US dealers who have had trouble keeping up with the marque's model proliferation. Mercedes' model-family lineup has nearly doubled to 15 in the last 20 years. That has put significant strain on the company's dealer franchisees, who have to manage finite resources including capital, showroom/lot space and advertising budgets.
It is not immediately clear what the fortunes of these two-door models may be beyond the US and Canada, but growth in crossover SUV sales and the contraction of traditional passenger-car sales has been a consistent theme across all major markets.
Mercedes representatives did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment on this story.