Mercedes-Benz to pare down packages, trims, and models

Mercedes-Benz has pledged to make the car-buying experience less confusing by paring down its packages and thinning out its lineup, Automotive News reported on Monday.

The redesigned 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship sedan leads the winnowing down by cutting the nine available packages into three "Lines" when it goes on sale this spring. Two models will be available at launch, distinguished by engine size, as is the German way: A base S 500 4Matic uses a 429-hp 3.0-liter turbo-6 with a mild-hybrid system; an S 580 4Matic has a 469-hp twin-turbo V-8. Both models come with the mild-hybrid system and all-wheel drive, as denoted by 4Matic. If history presages the future, then AMG models will follow.

Mercedes offers the 2020 S-Class in six models, including S 450, S 450 4Matic, S 560, S560 4Matic, S 560e, and AMG S 63. This is one of the brand's simpler lineups, and the sedan could also be had in one of two coupe versions. The 2021 S Class will have 86% fewer configurations, according to Automotive News

The crossover SUV lineup that has proliferated in recent years has also grown more complicated, especially with the designation of "Coupe" to four-door SUVs. 

According to the Mercedes-Benz consumer website, the brand sells nine crossover SUVs, six sedans and wagons, seven coupes, six convertibles and roadsters, and a hybrid. Each of these vehicles is offered in at least four "models," ranging from all-wheel-drive variants to AMG performance models. That maths out to nearly 120 Mercedes-Benz vehicle models to choose from. 

Only a German engineer could understand all the permutations and distinctions. Keep in mind, in 2014, Mercedes streamlined its naming convention to limit confusion right before a product onslaught. Now, the electrics are coming, and will carry an "E" designation. 

Fortunately for some, seven Mercedes models are reportedly on the cutting floor, including coupe and convertible variants of the S-Class, C-Class, E-Class, as well as the CLS coupe and a GT performance model.

Mercedes said the house cleaning should simplify the ordering process for dealers and customers, and streamline the supply chain. It can also reduce costs for dealers and be able to give customers what they want without waiting on an order that can be second-guessed. On the other hand, distinction is the mark of luxury, and a car specially ordered by a customer can carry more prestige, and a higher price.

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