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Mercedes-Benz: Future Models

carcarcarcar Posts: 19
edited March 8 in Mercedes-Benz
Personally, I don't get what Mercedes is trying to do with the new CLS!! First of all, it looks ugly, sort of an ugly knockoff of the future Lexus GS models. Second of all, Mercedes has the C, E, and S Class vehicles, each filling their appropriate market segment. It doesn't explain why they're putting the CLS out there. If people want a cheaper S Class, buy an E Class!! The whole "coupe yet sedan" look is just plain weird. Time will only tell if they will sell. Mercedes is going in the wrong direction with this vehicle. I think the new Grand Sports Tourer/R Class type thing will be a bigger hit and all that Mercedes needs for now.
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Comments

  • bretaabretaa Posts: 130
    I too am not quite sure what Mercedes is doing. My girlfriend has an old 190E, and I love it. It's clear and focused. Vault like structure, solid handling, stately appearance, smart engineering.

    By contrast, I'm not quite sure what Mercedes is now, especially having seen them at a recent autoshow. Their styling seems to be going towards neuvo-avant garde, with some almost cartoonish like details. The interiors are just festooned with buttons, drowning out obvious "smart engineering." The new SLK interior, while stylish, looks like Mazda or Alfa could have drawn it. The CLS and upcoming Pacifica-like vehicle (sorry, the name escapes me right now) don't make much sense to me. Slam BMW's recent design moves as one may, by contrast, they still have a BMW-ness performance focus about them.

    I get the sense that Mercedes is trying to be like Lexus - something for everyone. That every vehicle can be smooth, sporty, silky, firm, understated, flamboyant, etc. all on the same car. I miss the focus of the Mercedes of old, and I'm far from old myself! If I had the money to buy one, I'd rather have a decent condition vintage Mercedes than a new one!

    - Bret
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    Mercedes C E S
    BMW 3 5 7
    Audi A4 A6 A8
    Infiniti G M Q
    Lexus Es Gs Ls

    If you compare these brands in this chart, you can see that mercedes fills every category nicely with everyone else. The C is not superior to many of these, but it is competing. Everyone wants an E or S class. But where/why would you throw in a new model and detract from other models sales? Who would buy an wagon in between the c and e classes instead of another brand? wouldn't they also look at the c and e?

    What MB does need is a full-size SUV that falls into the price range of a Navigator, maybe a little less than an LX470 or Range Rover.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I can see where you all would think that Mercedes is doing too much here and I agree - somewhat.

    I don't think they had any other niche to go for so they are trying to create one themselves. They already have more Coupes and Convertibles than any other luxury makers, so they decided to do something different. I'm not totally sold on the styling of the CLS, but it shouldnt' take away from the S or E Classes sales due to the CLS having a very impractical backseat arrangement and the price will be right in between the E and S. The CLS will also be a big profit maker, which Mercedes needs right now. The car didn't cost much to develop because it uses so much off-the-shelf E-Class hardware. On the body and some interior pieces are new. The new direct injection V6 will be used in every, and I mean every Mercedes model over the next 2 model years.

    Now the GST (supposed to be R-Class) will be a runaway hit I'm betting. Crossovers are hot and Mercedes is currently completly absent in this segment. I agree with the earlier post, Mercedes needs a RR/LX470 competititor. Maybe the next G-Class? Not sure.

    Mercedes basically had no choice but to expand. The old 1990's business model (from everything I've read and been told by the business-minded people here) just wouldn't have worked anymore. The Japanese forced the issue so Mercedes has to compete wherever they can and spread the costs out over more cars. Just think about it 10 years ago there was only a C, E, S and SL.

    Its about survival now, even Porsche had to do a "different" kind of product to ensure their survival.

    Three things Mercedes needs to do: improve reliability, stop with the under 30K model plans and never make and ugly car or veer off in a strange styling direction like BMW.

    M
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Well, count me amongst the confused. It started back when AMG started going crazy, and you couldn't figure out whether the supercharged V8 model of the normally aspirated V12 model was the flagship. Then they started twin-turboing some models too. Now you really have no idea. Hmm. Do I want a CL500, a CL55, a CL600, a CL65, ...? It's like the Eminem song. "Will the real Mercedes Benz please stand up?"

    Having no choice is bad. Having some choice is good. Having too much choice becomes bad again. Mercedes is starting to act more and more American with each passing year. Too many choices, overlapping and confusing, and precious development and assembly resources being sucked away to accommodate a breadth of lower quality products when it probably should be spent focusing on a smaller but higher quality portfolio. And all this for the sake of maintaining or increasing market share, at all costs. This is silly, because the CLS isn't going to do what MB is looking for it to do, whereas Smart...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What exactly do you think they're looking for the CLS to do for them?

    M
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    "Three things Mercedes needs to do: improve reliability, stop with the under 30K model plans and never make and ugly car or veer off in a strange styling direction like BMW."

    Wouldn't it be great if all of these luxury companies could improve their reliability? Unfortunately, only Lexus and Infiniti can say they have above-average reliability, and Lexus's arent "cool" enough for some and nobody buys the upper-end Infinitis. In my opinion, that's why people would by an MDX over a VW Touareg

    Also, why not have a below- 30,000 dollar car? Many people buy the C-Class, even though its a terrible car. Fix it up, and have it compete with the 330's of the world.

    Speaking of 330's, why not style like BMW? They are the best compact luxury car, ahead of the TL and G35. Plus, The average person would readily buy a 330-like car under the MB nameplate and not know it was a poorer version of a BMW if the price was right. Keep in mind, most buyers DON'T use Edmunds.com or Consumer Reports to purchase, so by targeting the clueless drivers they'd be selling to the majority.

    The new wagon should have a partner sedan to go with it, to replace the poor C-class, and the new G-class, as merc1 suggested, should be styled more efficiently and should have an under 70K price tag.
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    Mercedes would never think that logically...they'd just come out with another convertible model.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "What exactly do you think they're looking for the CLS to do for them?"

    I think they're looking for it to maintain or increase market share for the overall brand. I don't think it'll do so, it'll merely present yet another option to those who already are sold on the brand, and in the process add yet more complexity (read: cost) to the design and manufacturing processes to support the product lineup.
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    The main question or concern is, however:

    Will this model bring in new customers, or customers who would not have bought a MB in the first place? Or will it take away from C, E, and even M class buyers? Inevitably it will lower not boost sales.

    Can someone tell me what MB does not have that would sell very well and that they should have, seeing how the other luxury models have it? (Hint: Full-size, practical luxury SUV. I understand BMW has one in the makes, joining RR, LX470 and QX56)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Good points..... Yes I agree the CLS has the potential to take away buyers of both the E and S-Class, but also the CL or CLK, but I don't think it will. For one it looks like no other Mercedes and that should draw buyers into the MB fold that wouldn't have bought one before. The rear seat of the CLS is very impractical (2 pass) compared to the S or E-Classes, but it should provide more room than Mercedes' true "coupes".

    I agree totally about the large SUV thing. I've wanted a Range Rover competitor since the day the M-Class was announced. Mercedes knows they want to build a 75-100K truck anyway, but they sold their souls to the volume market with the ML with disastrous (quality) results.

    BTW, the 2005 C-Class is much improved in the area that it needed it the most, interior. Hopefully all those things under the skin that were unreliable have been dealt with also. Mercedes' philosophy about how a car should drive will never allow them to out-sport the 3-Series, so they need to give up trying to out-sport this car, just make the C-Class a reliable, high-quality, fun to drive car that can keep up with the 3-Series in that area, but make it more luxurious. That is correct the Mercedes formula.

    sphinx99,

    I don't think they're expecting it to do much for market share worldwide at just 50K units a year, which is a small drop in the Mercedes bucket. I think they did it honestly for more profit as the CLS uses mostly off-the-shelf E-Class parts (chassis, engine etc) with only the body and a very select few interior pieces being truly "new". I would imagine the CLS didn't cost much to develop.

    M
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    has a few issues that I noticed at NAIAS early in the year to fix.

    I opened the trunk on the C230 Kompressor sedan and the lid just flew up and almost twisted my arm. Geez. At least let the lid go up slowly. None of the other automakers had this problem, including Chevrolet, Suzuki, Hyundai, Kia and BMW. I opened the liftgate on a C230 SportCoupe and when I tried to close it the latch was jammed. Keep in mind this was a brand new $28,000 MERCEDES On every other car I sat in and opened the liftgate, there was no problem with the latch jamming. All the problems I encountered were at the Mercedes Benz display.

    I do think the Crossover Concept they had on display was quite nice looking.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Cars at autoshows are regularly abused. If owners were having these problems it would be all over the net.

    M
  • vcarrerasvcarreras Posts: 247
    that the B Class will be coming to NA in 2005.

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?n=156,178&sid=178&a- mp;article=7100

    I hope it will be well built! Wonder what powerplant and price. Anyone know?
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Oh I like it. I've seen the red shot before. Very, very hip.

    Bring it on, says I.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The A-Class appears to be kinda cute, but it doesn't belong here or any variant thereof. Now as a "Smart" badged vehicle it all makes perfect sense.

    I swear at times I can't understand my own favorite brand. You bring Smart here as an outlet for cheaper vehicles, then give Mercedes a variant also? What the hell for?!

    M
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    But isn't this a bigger box with a bigger plant, or did I read that wrong?

    Gotta let go of that brand image thing, Merc! You have to believe that Mercedes can be bigger and better than just Lux here. I know I do!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I can't I've been taught this all my car-loving life...lol!!!!

    M
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    What Mercedes needs is a full-size SUV that competes with Lexus, Lincoln, Caddy and Infiniti. Possibly the next G-wagen???

    It's weird how Mercedes is offering all of these wagon choices, yet wondering why people like companies like Nissan/Infiniti (no wagons), Toyota/Lexus (Matrix, the only one other than the Scions) and Honda/Acura (Civic is it)

    Why?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I really don't see where Mercedes is doing anything different from any other luxury brand when it comes to SUV/Crossovers. BMW has 2, Lexus has 3 so why shouldn't Mercedes grab a piece of this market? Three different models, R-Class, M-Class and G-Class with varying purposes. Makes sense to me.

    The 2007 G-Class should however be a true Range Rover competitor, no doubt.

    M
  • benzman1benzman1 Posts: 1
    I currently own a '02 S430, and I look forward to the new CLS500. This adds excitement to the line up without spending $95M for an SL.
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    But these new mercedes models are more wagonish, and BMW and Audi are pushing the X7 (probably) and A7 (done deal). Other than to redesign the M, Mercedes hasn't addresed their SUV lineup

    Look at it this way. Think how many Navigator and Tahoe buyers the GX and LX have taken away. G Class buyers aren't really in that price range. Wouldn't Mercedes sell more luxury, 7 pass. SUV for 60-70K than a wagon model when they would new wagons, when there's already the E and C classes to choose from?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You have a point, no argument from me there. There are different ways to look at it though.

    They'll have a mainstream SUV...the ML, then a crossover the R-Class and then an upper SUV the G-Class. I just don't see Mercedes, BMW or any other German company building a Tahoe/LX470 sized vehicle.

    M
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Good stuff.

    The DC merger really got off on the wrong foot, but after checking out some of Chrysler's new products, I am REALLY impressed.

    I think MB, in addition to broadening its product line, has to figure out how to coordinate its product (platforms, engines and trannies) with Dodge and Chrysler.

    Otherwise, they'll end up like GM, which has some good looking cars with great engines, some good looking cars with old dunger engines, some low quality cars with great engines, and too many low quality cars with low quality engines.

    I agree with you 100% that MB should dump below $30k cars. That's what Chrysler and Dodge are for.

    I also agree with you that MB should expand into any luxury niches its weak on, but I think they need to coordinate this effort with Chrysler and Dodge.

    Here's how I'd organize the product line.

    Dodge would get a few RWD performance cars, but the main lineup would be economy FWD cars, FWD minivans and small to midsize FWD SUVs. Dodge would also get a few large RWD SUVs. Also trucks.

    Chrysler would get cheaper versions of MB's RWD cars and upscale versions of Dodge SUVs. Less luxurious, different design. Engines would be same as MB engines (to save costs), except the v8 would be Hemis instead of expensive DOHC v8s. The MB v6s in Chrysler's would be the same as MB's, except that even though MB's v6s would be high compression, they would be detuned to run on regular gas only in order to cheaply differentiate them from the premium MB v6s.

    MB would get the premium engines (DOHC v8s instead of the Hemi, or hell, maybe even a bigger and badder Hemi) and go with upscale, luxurious cars all the way. MB would get the funky hi-tech transmissions that MB is famous for also, whereas Chrysler and Dodge get standard, cheaper (but maybe more reliable) low tech transmissions.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Interesting post. Instead of me just saying whether or not I agree or disagree I'll give you visuals...lol.

    "I think MB, in addition to broadening its product line, has to figure out how to coordinate its product (platforms, engines and trannies) with Dodge and Chrysler."

    Picture me standing on my desk here at work jumping up and down in protest. NO! This would destroy Mercedes-Benz.

    "I also agree with you that MB should expand into any luxury niches its weak on, but I think they need to coordinate this effort with Chrysler and Dodge."

    I'm not sure what niche they could enter with help from those two brands.

    "MB would get the premium engines (DOHC v8s instead of the Hemi, or hell, maybe even a bigger and badder Hemi) and go with upscale, luxurious cars all the way. MB would get the funky hi-tech transmissions that MB is famous for also, whereas Chrysler and Dodge get standard, cheaper (but maybe more reliable) low tech transmissions."

    Well every transmission should be reliable.

    Overall I guess I still get nauseous when I think about a Chrysler and Mercedes sharing a jointly developed platform. So far this hasn't happened. Yes the Crossfire is a rebodied SLK, but the SLK will be all new in 2 months. The 300/Magnums have Mercedes inspired suspension design and some previous E-Class parts (seats, steering columns etc.), but not the entire platform.

    I think they should share parts where it doesn't affect the character of the respective brands. People aren't going to buy a 80K S-Class if they know there is a Chrysler equivalent running around. They can't ever share platforms in the way Ford/Jaguar does say with their S-Type/Linc LS. They can share alternators, seat tracks, and various nuts and bolts, but the stuff that makes a Mercedes a Mercedes can't be jointly developed on a platform intended for use in a new Chrysler and Mercedes at the same time. It won't work.

    So far I think they've done the right things and the Chrysler side of the house is starting to show signs of a turnaround, but it is way too early to say anything about it yet.

    I think for this union to work both Mercedes and Chrysler has to be left to do what they do best and work together in areas that will save them both money and R&D time without messing up the character of each brand. In short only get what they need from each other and nothing more. The boys in Germany should just give the boys in Detroit technical, purchasing and R&D support, not tell them what kind of cars to build and certainly vice versa (like that would ever happen anyway).

    M
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Picture me standing on my desk here at work jumping up and down in protest. NO! This would destroy Mercedes-Benz.

    LOL

    Overall I guess I still get nauseous when I think about a Chrysler and Mercedes sharing a jointly developed platform. So far this hasn't happened. Yes the Crossfire is a rebodied SLK, but the SLK will be all new in 2 months. The 300/Magnums have Mercedes inspired suspension design and some previous E-Class parts (seats, steering columns etc.), but not the entire platform.

    Well, I know how you feel about MB, but honestly, part and platform sharing are going to happen with increasing frequency, whether you like it or not. And it's not like MB is really lowering itself. There are stripper MB taxis all over Germany after all.

    I like the idea of using old Benz platforms and parts for Chrysler and possibly Dodge as well. That's a good way to increase ROI on old plant and equipment, and it won't devalue MB b/c MB will get the latest and greatest.

    I think platform sharing can work under the following circumstances:

    1. different interior and exterior parts so that the cars look different, with the better stuff going in the upscale model.

    2. better, more powerful engine in the upscale model.

    If it's just badge engineering (which it unfortunatley too frequently is) then it'll devalue MB.

    I think for this union to work both Mercedes and Chrysler has to be left to do what they do best and work together in areas that will save them both money and R&D time without messing up the character of each brand. In short only get what they need from each other and nothing more.

    I hear where you're coming from. Esthetically I agree with you, but dollarswise, I don't think it's going to happen the way you want it to.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Easy saugatak, can't you see that artery throbbing in merc's neck? }-]

    I don't think we'll see much reverse osmosis from Chrysler to Benz (much to the everlasting relief of our friend here) anytime real soon. Personally I think Merc has a valid point in that there's not much to gain yet.

    Yet.

    OTOH, there is a measure of adapability inherent in the culture in Auburn Hills that I don't think really exists in the Benz boardroom, and there are learnings there that would be helpful to a mfr looking for a true global presence and a shot a dominance.

    You guys go harp on the under 30 product all you want; I, for one, would very much be interested in a B hatch with some amenities and a smokin' plant. Cars in this size range interest me greatly, and as I like my cockpit trimmed in leather with some comfy features and as little NVH as possible, having an alternative to the typical econobox applications is right up my alley and down my freeway! That's how I ended up in what I drive now, and that's why things like an A3 Sportback (or an S4 Avant) look good for my future. Don't need bigger and roomier. If I wanted to go that way, I'd have seized on the '03 540iT and the outrageous lease I was offered like a Pit Bull on a lamb shank (prettiest wagon I ever done seen and a pip to drive)!

    C'mon, bring a B and make it hot!
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Ah Merc can handle it :)

    I don't think we'll see much reverse osmosis from Chrysler to Benz (much to the everlasting relief of our friend here) anytime real soon. Personally I think Merc has a valid point in that there's not much to gain yet.

    I'm wondering if MB will put the upcoming 6.1L Hemi in any of their model lines.

    I, for one, would very much be interested in a B hatch with some amenities and a smokin' plant.

    Dodge Magnum with a Hemi? It might not have the amenities you want but it's a smokin' wagon.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You guys are being downright mean, especially you James...lol!

    You know Mercedes will never put a Hemi in one of their cars.

    M
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Come on Merc, if the Hemi is not put into an MB, then the following classic commercial will never be made:

    Scene

    Snobby looking European in Armani suit driving MB SLK AMG pulls up to a ratty burger joint. Sweaty, beefy, greasy teenager leans out of drive-thru window.

    European: "Excuse me sahr, but do you have some Grey Poupon?"

    Teenager: "That thang got a Hemi?"
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