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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    BMW and Mercedes Admit They Have Too Many Models, Plan Cuts

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      Bad News, coupes and convertibles are on the chopping block

    For the past few years, luxury automakers have been trying to fill every single niche they could think of. It's why we have such models as the BMW 5-Series GT and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Coupe for example. But now, BMW and Mercedes-Benz admit they have too many models and are planning to cut some.

    “The checkerboard of body styles and segments is rather full, although there are still a few to be finished. We’ve got an X2 and an X7 coming, and there are a few others, but I also know—because we’ve taken decisions—that some body styles will be removed in the future,” said Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, to Car and Driver.

    “There’s definitely more of a move toward four-door coupes. We’ve done the Gran Coupes; they’ve really worked. People like the lower seating position and the sporty dynamics but also the fact there’s a door in the back. It’s fair to say that when we look at the checkerboard, because of the new things we’re putting in, there are some things we can take out,” Robertson went on to say.

    Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz cars harbors the same thoughts.

    “The specialty cars, these coupes and convertibles, were always niche cars. The expansion into China and other emerging markets [has given] huge opportunities for sedans, but they did not take up these specialty cars. Which makes the business case for these vehicles less easy.”

    Yep, it seems coupes and convertibles are on the chopping block - not the SUV-coupe things you were likely hoping for. Now Zetsche did say that would still offer two-door models, but it would not be “in the variety we are having them right now.” Taking into consideration there are coupe and convertible versions of the C, E, and S-Class, along with the SLK and SL roadsters, and the AMG GT coupe and convertible, we wouldn't be shocked if a couple of those models disappear.

    Source: Car and Driver

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    There’s definitely more of a move toward four-door coupes. We’ve done the Gran Coupes; they’ve really worked.

    For who?? Last I checked, the X4 and X6 sell like 10% of what the X3 and X5 do. He's got it ass-backwards.

    And I've said here for many years -and it's the worst ever @ MB now- that the ever-so-slight variations on every model, and lines that are a mere 6" longer than the one below it, are ridiculous. I think MB has like 65 models right now.

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    Mercedes has 6 convertibles right now, they can drop the GT convertible since they have the SL, and they can drop the SLC since they have very little volume and are a unique line.  C-class gives them an entry level convertible, i think they can sell enough to justify it. 

    BMW can cut the Grand coupes and Grand turismo hatchbacks and go back to regular coupe and sedan and unleash more crossovers.  BMW wants the sales crown back from Mercedes though and in releasing 40 new models by 2019.

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    BMW and MB fought with each other to cover every freakin hole. Now they have nothing but excess and lost profits. Time to cut those that are a waste. Both companies could easily cut 1/3rd of their product lines and still do just as well.

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    M-B, with their Job One goal over ever-increasing sales, should drop every model LINE that moves less than 1000 unit/month and redouble efforts on the core volume models. That'd cut 6 lines right off the bat, and improve ROI.

    Better watch it tho if the above is implemented; the S-class was only 2 cars over 1000 last month (and down 36% over Feb 2016)! ;)

    Edited by balthazar
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    As far as BMW and their Gran Coupes go, I really like the styling of the 6 series GC..it looks much nicer than the regular 5 series sedan, IMO...

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    35 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Mercedes has 6 convertibles and 4 2dr coupes.  Cadillac has zero convertibles and 1 2dr coupe :( 

    And the sole 2dr coupe that Cadillac gets is a shared platform with a Chevy and the Chevy version gets the V8 top line engine and spanks every performance oriented 2dr coupe in its sight. The Cadillac version fails to do that, fails to do the interior space that it should also focus on as its German competitors address that!

    FAIL FAIL FAIL

    ABOUT M-B...

    52f532bd3d2df3b318dc98ab880df21a3216e359

     

     

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    I mean, I don't know HOW TF they didn't see this coming.

    You mean a coupe, a sedan version of that coupe, another sedan that looks kinda more like the coupe than the sedan, a convertible version of that coupe, a wagon version of the sedan version of that coupe, and a pseudo-hatchback crossover monstrosity version of the sedan version of that coupe is too many models!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    I'm with you Frisky Dingo that is insane. 

    Though I sure wish Chevy could check a few more body style boxes. I understand that wagons don't sell much and am happy to see Buick looking at them and GM making good coin on them as a premium auto. Hatchbacks looking good right now sales wise (Cruze hatch diesel+) sure wish we could see a coupe 3 door + hatch (nice mid life crisis) will NEVER get a wagon like that. A hipo wagon 3 door like a Nomad Suburban Velositor cross. Just a dream.

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    1 hour ago, balthazar said:

    M-B, with their Job One goal over ever-increasing sales, should drop every model LINE that moves less than 1000 unit/month and redouble efforts on the core volume models. That'd cut 6 lines right off the bat, and improve ROI.

    Better watch it tho if the above is implemented; the S-class was only 2 cars over 1000 last month (and down 36% over Feb 2016)! ;)

    Under 1,000 a month in USA would only cut SLC, G-wagen, SL and AMG GT.  The last 3 of those are mostly $100-200k cars with big margins and the SL and G-Wagen are never going anywhere.  SLC they could kill and no one will miss it.

    Plus remember global volume of these; Mercedes sold 1.8 million cars outside of the USA last year.  S-class can sell 100k units a year globally far more than any othe car of that price.

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    1 hour ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    I do give them credit, though, for having multiple body styles for models...something Detroit used to do very well.

    1. That was when Detroit had North America all to herself! It was easy peasy to do it then!

    2. GM announced that they will be downsizing further, so M-B probably saw that GM had the guts to it and they dont have that insane amount of intertwining  models, so they probably followed suit after they were probably thinking about it for awhile.

     

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    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    Under 1,000 a month in USA would only cut SLC, G-wagen, SL and AMG GT.

    February numbers :
    b-class : 56
    slc : 268
    sl : 230
    amggt : 93
    g-class : 288
    smart : 348

    Special mention :
    s-class : 1002
    cla : 1526

    Even the cargo vans are outselling the cal now, which is down 37% Y-T-Y.
     

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    12 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    February numbers :
    b-class : 56
    slc : 268
    sl : 230
    amggt : 93
    g-class : 288
    smart : 348

    Special mention :
    s-class : 1002
    cla : 1526

    Even the cargo vans are outselling the cal now, which is down 37% Y-T-Y.
     

    Smart isn't a Mercedes, they'd probably like more sales there, that is a brand they need to rethink, maybe make them an EV city car.   They have global Smart sales, they need CAFE help in the USA, they actually need more volume from Smart in that regard.   B-class exists because California state law says they have to sell an electric car.  They can't stop making it until the electric SUV goes on sale in 2019.  

    And I don't think they care if they sell 300 G-class a month, they were going to kill it in 2006 but the fans wanted them to keep it, so they did.  They sell about 14,000 G-class a year globally, and most are AMG.  The upgrade price from a G63 to a G65 is $79,000!  The profit margin on a $220,000 truck with body and chassis paid for decades ago for has to be obscene.  

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    smart is reported on mercedes sales reports, it only lacks the badge (which I'm frankly SHOCKED they didn't glue one on).
    b-class is a flop in the land of the Wistful Dreamer, the EV CUV isn't likely to do much better.
    And there aren't any "fans" if all you can move is 280 units/mnth.

    Merceds said their 70-some model catalog is out of control & they are going to cut models. Good- makes sense, no one can figure out what alphanumeric goes where (might as well revamp the naming system again while they're at it). No doubt they are going to kill drop-inna-bucket sales models first, esp since most aren't sharing with another vehicle. They need to offer more, with less, a lesson they haven't learned yet.

    Edited by balthazar

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    The A/B class totaled 425,000 sales last year.  Hardly a flop.  Mercedes never said their model line is out of control, Dieter said that the convertibles and coupes are niche models, and it is hard to make the business case for all of them as China wants sedans (and not convertibles with their dirty air) and most of the world wants crossovers. He did say there would always be coupes and convertibles offered, maybe they don't have 6 or 8 of each but they aren't all going away.

    Their electric SUV has 400 hp and 300 mile range which on the surface is quite appealing, the price will be a big factor.

     

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    59 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    The A/B class totaled 425,000 sales last year.  Hardly a flop.

    Not in the U.S.! Here, it's another mercedes flop. If MB can't make a compelling EV for CA, they're in trouble here. But perhaps it's not the 87-mile range EV-aspect, but the car as a whole; a gruesomely cheap car trying to pass itself off as an entry-level 'luxury' car. 

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    15 hours ago, oldshurst442 said:

    And the sole 2dr coupe that Cadillac gets is a shared platform with a Chevy and the Chevy version gets the V8 top line engine and spanks every performance oriented 2dr coupe in its sight. The Cadillac version fails to do that, fails to do the interior space that it should also focus on as its German competitors address that!

    FAIL FAIL FAIL

    ABOUT M-B...

    52f532bd3d2df3b318dc98ab880df21a3216e359

     

     

    Love the ATS coupe, but you are 100% correct.  Rear seat room is very tight.  it is tighter than my bug, a car nearly 20 inches shorter!   It does have it's advantages in a MUCH nicer interior and better sight-lines, but sadly the Chevy probably has a better infotainment system.  The only thing the ATS has the Camaro doesn't is AWD and I see that changing if demand ends up being high enough for the Challenger GT since moving the AS AWD system to the Camaro would be the same cakewalk as moving the Charger system to the Challenger. 

    Anyways, i have been thinking on what coupes/Verts would be cut.  For BMW I can see the 2 series and 6 series getting the axe and the upcoming 7 series coupe (8 series?) on the chopping bock.  I don't see them killing the 4 series ever and the i8 hybrid has a unique place in their lineup.

     

    Mercedes i could see the S class coupe/vert and the E class coupe/vert being killed off.   The SLK still serves as their cheapest entry level roadster, the C class is need to go up against the 4 series/A5/ATS. etc, and the SL is one of those core cars in their lineup. 

     

    I don't see the 4 door "coupes" going anywhere.  In fact, I see them taking the place in their lineups of the dropped coupes. 

    This reminds me of the mid/late 90s/early 2000s when coupe models were falling like dead flies.  T-Bird, Cougar, Cutlass, Mark VIII, Eldorado, Cutlass, Grand Prix, etc, etc. 

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    10 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Not in the U.S.! Here, it's another mercedes flop. If MB can't make a compelling EV for CA, they're in trouble here. But perhaps it's not the 87-mile range EV-aspect, but the car as a whole; a gruesomely cheap car trying to pass itself off as an entry-level 'luxury' car. 

    But they already build the car, doesn't cost them more money to sell the CLA and GLA here.  Why give up 3,000 units a month, especially when they are to new buyers to the brand. 

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    2 hours ago, Stew said:

    Love the ATS coupe, but you are 100% correct.  Rear seat room is very tight.  it is tighter than my bug, a car nearly 20 inches shorter!   It does have it's advantages in a MUCH nicer interior and better sight-lines, but sadly the Chevy probably has a better infotainment system.  The only thing the ATS has the Camaro doesn't is AWD and I see that changing if demand ends up being high enough for the Challenger GT since moving the AS AWD system to the Camaro would be the same cakewalk as moving the Charger system to the Challenger. 

    Anyways, i have been thinking on what coupes/Verts would be cut.  For BMW I can see the 2 series and 6 series getting the axe and the upcoming 7 series coupe (8 series?) on the chopping bock.  I don't see them killing the 4 series ever and the i8 hybrid has a unique place in their lineup.

     

    Mercedes i could see the S class coupe/vert and the E class coupe/vert being killed off.   The SLK still serves as their cheapest entry level roadster, the C class is need to go up against the 4 series/A5/ATS. etc, and the SL is one of those core cars in their lineup. 

     

    I don't see the 4 door "coupes" going anywhere.  In fact, I see them taking the place in their lineups of the dropped coupes. 

    This reminds me of the mid/late 90s/early 2000s when coupe models were falling like dead flies.  T-Bird, Cougar, Cutlass, Mark VIII, Eldorado, Cutlass, Grand Prix, etc, etc. 

    Good point about the early 2000s  Even can add the Celica and MR2 and Supra in that time frame and Camry Solara and Monte Carlo later.  Honda S2000, Sky and Soltice all dead.  2 door cars are disappearing at an alarming rate the past 20 years.

    I think E-class coupe and convertible are safe, the E-class line does a lot of volume, and it sits right in the middle of their line up.  What can keep the S-class convertible around is profit margin, those range $125-250,000, hard to cut something you can sell for that much money and potentially make $50,000 per car sold.  

    What it comes down to is what does the consumer want?  I think Dieter's point when they introduced the E-class convertible was if you buy them, we will keep building them.  But if people only want crossovers, it becomes hard to justify building convertibles just because it is fun.

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    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    But they already build the car, doesn't cost them more money to sell the CLA and GLA here.

    Of course it does! The b-class, for example, has to be certified and tested for the U.S. market, it has to be physically shipped from Germany and advertised. Maybe if Daimler cut the price to a more reasonable $25K, they would sell here and they could make it worth while and get some volume moving. They can't be making a profit on the b-class at these numbers.

    Chevy is waxing mercedes EV ass with the Bolt : 56 units vs. 952, and the Bolt is still ramping up and they're basically the same MSRP.

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    Mercedes needs to figure out how to expand sales in China, that would be their best opportunity for growth.  B Class will live on here as the Car2Go car, it sells far better in Canada than the US but the A and B are really Euro market volume vehicles.

     

     

     

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    56 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Of course it does! The b-class, for example, has to be certified and tested for the U.S. market, it has to be physically shipped from Germany and advertised. Maybe if Daimler cut the price to a more reasonable $25K, they would sell here and they could make it worth while and get some volume moving. They can't be making a profit on the b-class at these numbers.

    Chevy is waxing mercedes EV ass with the Bolt : 56 units vs. 952, and the Bolt is still ramping up and they're basically the same MSRP.

    I gaurentee they lose money on the B-class EV.  But without it they couldn't sell cars in California which is not an option.  So they have to sell it.  That B-class will be dead the day the EQ crossover goes on sale.

     

    As far as China goes, Mercedes has passed BMW and is closing in on Audi.  So they are doing pretty well there.

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    ^ That's hilarious!! BMW thinks slicing their pizza into thinner pieces is going to stop the sliding sales? FORTY??

    They desperately need a new design direction, and need to focus on their core models, not build endless slightly-different/sized variants. That's some inept management over there.

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    • By Drew Dowdell
      BMW unveiled the Concept iX3 at the Beijing Motor show in April of 2018.  The overall look of the crossover is somewhat conventional, but with the traditional kidney grille being closed off for aerodynamic reasons and special aerodynamic wheels.
      The production iX3 will be rear-wheel drive only and have a peak rating of 286 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. All of that power comes from a single motor. The motor is BMW's fifth-generation eDrive powertrain developed solely in house. BMW says that the technology used in this motor is scalable and thus can be used in different automotive segments. 
      The battery is a 74-kWh pack that is capable of powering the iX3 for 273 miles on the European WLTP cycle (EPA rating will be lower).
      The iX3 will be built in Shenyang, China through a joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive starting in 2020.
      Once the iX3 goes on the market, it will be BMW's first vehicle to be available in gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric drive configurations.
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Mercedes-Benz went the unconventional route and debuted their new GLA SUV completely online this morning. The new GLA comes on a new platform and changes up the dimensions a bit to improve interior space.  Overall length is down 0.6 inches, but height has increased 4.1 inches, and wheelbase is up 1.1 inches while width is up 1.2 inches. This translates to some minor improvements in most, but not all, interior dimensions.  (Dimensions chart on Page 2)
      The GLA initially will come in three forms, the GLA 250, GLA 250 4Matic, and AMG GLA 35.  The 250 and 250 4matic some with the same powertrain, a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 221 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,620 - 4,000 RPM.  Power is sent to the wheels via an 8-speed DCT.
      The AMG GLA 35 comes with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 302 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 - 4,000 RPM. And uses a modified version of the 8-speed DCT. Zero to 60 is estimated at 5.0 seconds.
      GLA 250 models equipped with 4Matic come with an Off-Road Engineering Package as standard.  It is an extra drive mode that adapts the characteristics of the 4Matic system and changes power delivery and ABS intervention.  The gauge cluster will present an animation of gradient, inclination angle, and technical settings to help the driver through the situation. 
      4Matic has been updated from being hydraulically activated to electro-mechanically activated.  In normal mode, the system splits torque 80:20 front:rear.  Sport mode changes that ratio to 70:30, while off-road mode moves it to 50:50. Being electro-mechanically operated allows the 4Matic system to be more efficient by not having to drive hydraulic pumps. 
      The GLA 250 is available with a host of driver assistance packages. They include:
      Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with the functions: braking for stationary vehicles, extended automatic restarting in traffic jams in conjunction with Active Parking Assist and navigation, activation of "Gliding" in the ECO drive mode, Active Steering Assist with the functions: Active Emergency Braking Assist – with automatic unlocking and placement of an SOS call to the Mercedes-Benz emergency call center after the vehicle has come to a stop (depending on country) Active Lane Change Assist in conjunction with navigation, Emergency lane function: in freeway traffic jams at speeds below approx. 37 mph. Active Speed Limit Assist with reaction to changes in speed limits in conjunction with Traffic Sign Assist, Route-based speed adjustment when approaching bends, roundabouts, toll stations, T-junctions and before leaving highways – reduction of vehicle speed when encountering the end of a traffic jam, in conjunction with navigation, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, PRE-SAFE PLUS: can detect a potential rear impact. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, minimizing the risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear. The interior of the GLA is quite similar to the A-Class sedan. Mercedes MBUX is there and can be activated by voice simply by saying "Hey Mercedes". 
      AMG 35
      The GLA AMG 35 gets an AMG tuned suspension, including an optional ride control system that allows the driver to select between three different drive modes.  A high performance braking system with 13.8 inch disks up front and 13.0 inch disks in the rear is included. There is a speed-sensitive variable ratio steering that changes the amount of assistance offered at different speeds. The AMG also gets a special exhaust system with a gas flap to change the sound dynamics of the car depending on mode, engine speed, and engine load. 
      The exterior of the AMG GLA 35 gets a different front fascia from the regular GLA 250, fitting in with the rest of the AMG lineup. 
      The GLA 250 goes on sale Summer of 2020 with the AMG following after that.
       
       
      New GLA
      Predecessor
      Diff.
      Exterior dimensions
      Length
      in
      173.6
      174.2
      -0.6
      Width
      in
      72.2
      71.0
      +1.2
      Width incl. exterior mirrors
      in
      79.5
      79.6
      -0.1
      Height
      in
      63.4
      59.3
      +4.1
      Wheelbase
      in
      107.4
      106.3
      +1.1
      Track, front
      in
      63.2
      61.4
      +1.8
      Track, rear
      in
      63.2
      61.4
      +1.8
      Interior dimensions*
      Max. front headroom
      in
      40.8
      40.0
      +0.8
      Headroom, rear
      in
      38.1
      38.4
      -0.3
      Legroom, front
      in
      41.1
      41.9
      -0.8
      Legroom, rear
      in
      38.4
      33.9
      +4.5
      Elbow room, front
      in
      57.3
      56.0
      +1.3
      Elbow room, rear
      in
      57.3
      55.5
      +1.8
      Shoulder room, front
      in
      55.9
      54.8
      +1.1
      Shoulder room, rear
      in
      54.8
      53.1
      +1.7
      Load compartment width, max.
      in
      50.1
      46.7
      +3.4
      Load compartment depth, max.
      in
      56.0
      54.9
      +1.1
      Eff. width trunk opening
      in
      41.3
      41.1
      +0.2
      Trunk capacity (VDA)
      cu-ft
      15.4
      14.9
      +0.5

      View full article
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