With two-door cars losing ground in the U.S. and China, the business case for coupes is getting tougher.
Both coupe and cabriolet versions of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range are on display at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. But one day in the future, Mercedes might not be so inclined to sell two-door “specialty” models. The problem? Customers shift inexorably toward buying SUVs, says Daimler AG chairman of the board and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dr Dieter Zetsche.
“These specialty cars, the coupes or convertibles, always were niche cars,” he told a group of American reporters in Geneva. In the future, “we will have coupes but perhaps less.”
The problem is that Mercedes doesn’t plan its business models only for one sales region but globally. As fewer customers worldwide bought traditional cars and switched to SUVs, Zetsche said the company made up lots of volume thanks to growth in China. But the Chinese market pretty much only takes sedans, which doesn’t help with a global business case for two-door cars.
“They have very few coupe and convertible sales in China, which makes the business case for these vehicles [harder],” he says. “It’s more difficult to run a business case when they are limited to one region.”
Still, don’t expect Mercedes to completely abandon sales of coupes and convertibles. They’re still great brand-builders, Zetsche says. But we won’t see as many of them if buyers continue to eschew two-door models in favor of SUVs.
“We might in the next go-around certainly continue to think about coupes and convertibles just because they are … just beautiful cars, but perhaps not with the variety that we have now,” he says.
Live photos: Motor1.com