If you need further evidence that the car market is now leaning towards the upscale, then this is it. Mercedes-Benz plans to cut three 43 percent of its entry-level offerings, while adding an elite line of cars even more exclusive than Maybach. The lower end of the market is simply not profitable enough, so the company spends more than 75% of its budget on attracting customers who demand ultra-luxury.

The strategy was presented at a session entitled “The Economics of Desire”, which took place on the Cote d’Azur. Mercedes-Benz attributes its change in sales figures to 2021, where there were record sales AMG and the Maybach model. In its main brand, the flagship sedan S-Class saw a 40% jump.

These vehicles, plus G-ClassEQ and EQS that include Mercedes calls its category “Top-End”. Using 2019 as a baseline, this group will see sales growth of 60% by 2026 if all goes according to plan. Soon it will include a series of “ultra-exclusive collectible cars” called the Mythos Series. Little was known about the line, but production will be limited, and cars will be offered only to “the most dedicated enthusiasts and collectors of Mercedes-Benz.”

In addition, the AMG.EA platform that underpins the AMG Vision concept will be a key part of the Top-End expansion, as will a limited series and special releases of collaborations such as Virgil Abloh Maybach (pictured), which has released 150 units. Mercedes has also said it is looking for ways to expand the G product family beyond the future electric G-Class.

The next category below is called “Core Luxury,” which includes C- and E-class and their derivative models as well electric cars built on the EVA2 platform (EQE) and the MB.EA platforms. New E-Class debuts in 2023 to become the main theme of this segment.

And the last, and apparently the least, is the “Entry Level” category, which currently includes cars and crossovers of Class A, CLA and GLA. Elsewhere in the world, Mercedes sells B- and GLB-classes, as well as additional models derived from the A-Class, such as the station wagon and hatchback. It is unclear who will get the ax, but three of the seven will be flooded.

All that remains is to be developed on a compact MMA platform that will be released in 2024 along with the MB.OS operating system. Mercedes-Benz plans to switch to fully electric new car sales by 2030 is “wherever market conditions allow,” and has “ambitions to become CO2-neutral by 2039,” a press release said.

The shift in strategy is a departure from the company’s previous approach to capturing market share, which has spawned models such as the CLA. We see that brands specialize when they dare to EV and possibly a stand-alone future. As cars converge in functionality and capabilities, companies will have to depend on other characteristics such as brand and exclusivity to stand out.

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