Apocalypse Now. Mercedes intends to make the brand future-proof by dramatically reducing the current portfolio. The future of several, especially more expensive, models and large engines is therefore very uncertain.
There are two things that put the figures at Mercedes down: the commitment to electric driving and the aftermath of the diesel scandal. Partly as a result of this, parent company Daimler saw a sharp fall in profits in 2019. In the coming years, much more needs to be invested in EVs and so Mercedes must ensure that it remains financially viable. According to Autocar magazine from the UK, Markus Schäfer, head of R&D for the brand, indicates that it wants to save costs by removing models, platforms and engines from the range.
Schäfer does not yet make concrete statements about what models are bound to be deleted, but he does mention that a number of these doomed models are made on their own platform. These may be the most important candidates to clear the field, due to the high development costs. Schaefer cites the S-Class, G-Class, SL and Mercedes-AMG GT as examples. According to Schäfer, the intention is to work towards one base modular platform in the long run. “In the future we will have the same basis for different cars,” he said. A modular platform for almost the entire range. A car like the S-Class can possibly come with a long wheelbase variant of the supposed platform, but for cars like the G-Class and Mercedes-AMG GT this task becomes particularly difficult.
In addition to certain platforms, according to Schäfer, various engines are also nominated to disappear. The V8s and V12s are the first candidates for this. Schäfer indicates that they will not suddenly disappear ‘while the demand is still big enough’, but that Mercedes will reconsider which power sources it wants to prepare in the long run. According to him, that mainly depends on the upcoming Euro7 standards. The aforementioned models are also precisely the cars in which the larger engines can be found, so that makes their future doubly uncertain.