As Mercedes embraces an electric future, it needs to spend money wisely by focusing on high-volume sellers to fund the development of its EQ lineup of zero-emissions vehicles. What that means is that niche models are in jeopardy, hence why the SLC, S-Class Coupe, and S-Class Convertible have already been terminated. As it turns out, additional two-door models are facing the proverbial axe.
In an interview with Autocar, chief operating officer Markus Schafer admitted the company's lineup is simply getting too big: "We reached a portfolio of close to 50 vehicles last year, and there’s more to come on the electric side with our EQ lineup. We have some limitations in terms of what we can do in research and development."
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He went on to say some of the models currently available are competing in a small market that’s simply not worth the trouble as it would be wiser to redirect the R&D efforts towards bigger sellers. Schafer says “significant shifts” in the portfolio are being planned, and while Mercedes is not completely abandoning coupes and convertibles, the main focus will be on EVs.
"That’s why we’re shifting: we’re going to continue with coupes and cabriolets in the future, but in a different form and shape. We will not give up the segment because it’s very important to use as a brand-shaper, but maybe in a more limited offering."
Ok, so which models are staying and which are going to be discontinued? Well, as previously mentioned, the SLC and two-door S-Class are gone. A next-generation SL roadster is coming this year and will be followed by an AMG GT Coupe featuring largely the same underpinnings. The E-Class Coupe and Convertible were recently facelifted and will stick around for the time being.
It likely means the 2022 C-Class unveiled yesterday in saloon and estate formats might not get coupe and convertible derivative for the new generation. Nothing is official at this point, but don’t be too surprised if that happens considering we haven’t seen any spy shots of two-door C-Class prototypes undergoing testing.
While Mercedes puts swoopy saloons like the CLA and CLS in the coupe category on its official websites for reasons beyond our understanding, Schafer wasn’t referring to those. Speaking of these sleek saloons, a new model was considered in the early development stage of the C-Class to rival the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, but it was ultimately dropped. Reports had referred to it as a CLC revival with rear doors, but that’s not happening anymore.
Despite plans to cut back on combustion-engined cars, Mercedes is planning to introduce a model it hasn’t offered before. We’re talking about the C-Class All-Terrain to fight the Audi A4 Allroad, though to be fair, it’s not a completely different vehicle since it’s essentially a C-Class Estate with a more rugged look and lifted suspension.