Mercedes SL was saved by tradition

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Mercedes has made substantial efforts to find a solution for the development of a new generation of Mercedes SL despite the dramatic drop in sales in this segment. In the end, tradition and loyal customers prevailed.

Stopped in 2020, sales of the former generation Mercedes SL had reached an all-time low.
In 2019 and 2020, sales in Europe fell 20 times compared to 2002-2003. And in the US, sales in 2019 and 2020 fell 10 times.
Europe sales Mercedes SL
2002 15,116 units
2003 13,431 units
2019 885 units
2020 505 units
US sales Mercedes SL
2002 13,717 units
2003 13,318 units
2019 1,690 units
2020 1,350 units

Therefore, if it had taken into account only the evolution of sales, Mercedes would not have had any reason to develop the seventh generation Mercedes SL.
Changes in buyers’ preferences for SUVs and internal cannibalization due to the launch of models such as the Mercedes S-Class convertible or the AMG GT Roadster have led to a decrease in SL’s sales figures.

But tradition and loyal customers of this model have convinced Mercedes that SL could have in the future.

Michael Knoller, global head of marketing and sales for Mercedes-AMG, told
“For us, it’s important to have this SL in our product portfolio because, brand-wise, it’s one of the icons since the 1950s. Every decade there is an SL that reflects the lifestyle of the time period. The SL customers are more loyal customers. So, it is not only marketing to keep an icon alive. But also to meet customer expectations to our portfolio. And the household income is quite high. ”

And Dieter Zetsche, former CEO of Daimler, said: “There are over 900 million cars in the world, but only a few models are a symbol. And SL is one of them.”

However, in order to boost the sales of Mercedes SL, Mercedes made some important decisions:
– gave up the S-Class convertible
– adopted for the SL the configuration of 2 + 2 seats in order not to compete directly with the next AMG GT Roadster
– appointed the AMG division to develop the new SL on a completely new sports platform (MSA) that changed the profile of this roadster from sports luxury to a luxury sports roadster, returning to the qualities of the legendary 300 SL. In fact, SL was saved also by the next AMG GT, witch will share the platform with SL in an effort tpo rentabilize the new sports platform
– kept the V8 bi-turbo engine, SL being one of the few Mercedes models that will offer a V8 (AMG C 63 and E 63 will have PHEV propulsion with 4-cylinder engine in the future)