Production

Report: Mercedes-Benz looking to cut at least seven models from lineup

The Mercedes-AMG CLS is one of the models that is likely on the chopping block

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz CL

New reporting indicates that Mercedes-Benz is looking to slim its lineup. The move hardly comes as a surprise given that the Mercedes stable is increasingly packed these days. Automotive News was the first to report the move.

A quick glance at the company's U.S. website reveals listings for eight SUVs, six sedans and wagons, seven coupes, six convertibles, one hybrid/electric model, and nine models In various stages of preparing to enter production. Then, there's traditionally two or more powertrain options for every model.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class The Mercedes-Benz E-Class may lose its coupe and convertible option in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

According to sources within the dealership community, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Nicholas Speeks spoke of the changes during a webinar a month ago though he did not identify which models are on the chopping block nor a timeline for their removal from the lineup.

Insiders told Automotive News that coupe and convertible versions of the S-, C-, and E-Class nameplates are up for extinction, as well as the CLS coupe and one of the GTs.

On the surface, this moves make sense for four different reasons. Americans are buying less sedans than they were even half a decade ago. Practical sedans, let alone more impractical coupes and convertibles aren't on many shoppers lists these days as buyers turn toward SUVs and trucks.

The worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means that all car sales will be down even further than already predicted when 2020 kicked off. Less sales means less expenditures, but is also means less money is coming in.

Innovation is expensive. The cost of developing autonomous technology, even when entering into partnerships to do so, is a cost measured in the tens of billions of dollars range. The company's profits were already down by two-thirds in 2019. Daimler AG recently pulled out of its automated driving alliance with BMW.

As the push toward electrification intensifies, costs are not yet coming down. Many automakers lose money on each electric vehicle they sell. Minimizing the expenditures related to multiple car variants, and their development, helps keep costs down, which allows those funds to be reallocated to investing in cutting-edge product.

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The 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan goes on sale in 2022

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup, the 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan will make its way to U.S. shores in early 2022, bringing with it 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque.

Distinct features set this Mercedes-Maybach apart from others including a Maybach-exclusive front bumper, engine hood trim strip, illuminated seamless door handles, and stainless steel illuminated panels. Buyers can request a two-tone paint job from their choice of 10 different color combinations.

The flagship model's power plant is a 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine that gets it from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The all-wheel drive sedan is able to deliver up to 31 percent of its toque to the front axle and 69 percent to the rear. Mercedes touts the car's rear-axle steering, which makes the model easy to drive on city streets. A special “Maybach" dynamic selects drive mode comes standard on the car.

2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan The car has an available panoramic sunroof.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes has fine-tuned the car to include active road noise compensation that the automaker refers to as headphones with noise suppression. The automaker says that the technology works like headphone systems with noise suppression tech by using counter-phased sound waves to balance out exterior sound waves. The technology is deployed via the car's Burmeister High-End 4D Surround Sound System.

The inside of the car also gets Nappa Leather upholstery and finishes including on the headliner, dashboard, instrument panel surrounds, armrests, glovebox, window frames, pillars, sun visors, backrest pockets, and door sill panel inserts. The rear seats feature diamond quilting, contrast piping, and the Mercedes-Maybach emblem. There's also wood trim, a Maybach pedal cluster, and Maybach-specific scent.

Owners can use the electronically-powered comfort doors at the rear, which can be controlled via a button or hand gesture. The same goes for the power sliding panoramic sunroof.

2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan The 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan's interior is luxe.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Adaptive rear lighting in the back seat of the car changes the LED spotlights' position and size. This allows for everything from reading lights to lounge-style lighting.

Two 11.6-inch high-resolution entertainment screens sit in behind the front seats. Between the rear seats are available silver-plated champagne flutes and a refrigerated compartment. Two matching holders in the center console hold the flutes in place when the car is on the move.

Mercedes has installed new rear seat airbags are designed to deploy in a gentle manner when needed.

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Mercedes-Benz EQS production has begun at Factory 56.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, Germany is the home of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS. Factory 56, a home within the larger manufacturing facility, is where the EQS is produced, in both regular- and long-wheelbase form.

The hub is a carbon-neutral facility that has several measures in place that help it achieve that status. For example, the photovoltaic systems on the roof of the hall cover yearly around 30 percent of the electricity demand. Additionally, the factory's assembly lines have been designed in such a way to allow for maximum flexibility where different models of different drive types can be put together on the same line.

Mercedes EQS production at Factory 56

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The processes and equipment of Factory 56 have been specially adapted for the EQS. This is most apparent at the point in the production process called the "Fullflex Marriage". It is then that the vehicle body is connected to its drive system. It happens over the course of the car's visit to several stations. Because of this order of operations, different powertrain variants can be connected to the respective vehicle bodies on the same line. This, along with enhanced digitization, has allowed the efficiency of the line to be increased.

The MO360 digital ecosystem is the basis for production. In installing the system, Mercedes has committed to focusing on people and providing them the support they need via digitization. Factory 56 has more than 1,500 employees.

The first finished EQS models have begun rolling off the assembly line. Deliveries of the all-electric luxury sedan for U.S. customers will begin in the later part of 2021.

"The future of our global Mercedes-Benz production network begins with EQS production in Factory 56: this future is CO2-neutral, sustainable, fully digitalized, connected and highly flexible," said Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Production and Supply Chain Management. "The start of production of the EQS is a highlight in our unprecedented electric vehicle initiative in the production area. In 2022, a total of eight Mercedes-EQ electric vehicles will be produced at seven locations on three continents."

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