Within the halls of Mercedes-Benz, money appears to be on the minds of many people; specifically, “How can we make more of it while spending less?” (Eds note: Wouldn't we all like to know that answer?) The answer to that question for them, for now, sounds like less complexity and fewer slower-selling variants. Compared to SUVs and crossovers, wagons and coupes were never going to win out. Dang.
That’s why, according to Car and Driver’s inside reporting, starting next year Mercedes will phase out coupes and wagons in the U.S. and abroad, slashing its model lineup by more than half from 33 models down to just 14. The first two to get the chop will be the C-Class and E-Class coupe and convertible models, which will be replaced by just one model, the CLE-Class, including coupe and convertible body styles. That’s not all for the C-Class, too; the C-Class wagon will be gone from Europe sometime around 2028.
The E-Class reportedly will get a next-generation wagon this year, it’s last and will sunset in 2030. Based on the current E-Class, the CLS-Class sedan won’t return after 2024 and similar coupe-sedans and coupe-overs won’t return either. The AMG GT (related to the CLS-Class) won’t come back, and the GLE and GLC coupe-overs will have one more generation before riding their fast rooflines into the long night.
For fans of forbidden fruit, the CLA-Class wagon will live for just one more generation, likely coming in 2025. After that, shooting brake or not, the Mercedes lineup will be rid of wagons, coupe-over less, and mostly electrified.
Just a few years ago, Mercedes told its investors that it would prioritize high-margin models and move uptown in price and taste and these moves all align with that. Car and Driver reports that fringe, ultra-expensive models could be in the pipeline for beaucoup bucks: a G-Wagen pickup, Gullwing redux, and a speedster. Those editions likely will be hyper-rare and proportionately expensive.
While these plans to shelve slower-selling models jibe with Mercedes’ public statements, they’re also very long-term and subject to changes in leadership or economies around the world. What’s said in 2023 about 2030 from an automaker is about as reliable as a weather forecast for next month. There will be larger trends, but a lot is possible in nearly a decade. And it’s possible that electrification becomes the great manufacturing equalizer and makes possible for niche products to roll off the lines quickly. In other words: Don’t pour one out for the long roofs just yet.
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