Can you spot the differences?
If you’re getting confused on how new Mercedes models differ from some existing ones, you’re not alone. With the Geneva Motor Show now in the past, it’s safe to say the German automaker has more than a few overlapping products. Take the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe – and yes, that’s the car’s actual name. Its addition to the Mercedes lineup gives the automaker five different four-door cars that pack both luxury and performance.
“Of course, every new car we launch has some ‘substitution aspects’ to the existing portfolio,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told Top Gear. “But typically we have a higher cannibalization impact on our competition, which is what we are aiming for!”
So long as Mercedes vehicles are selling well, the automaker has little worry about taking sales away from itself – as long as it continues to erode the sales of Audi and BMW. What’s interesting is how candid Zetsche was about how its plethora of products could confuse customers.
“There’s a level of fragmentation where even the customer might get confused, and you’re not adding value anymore, and to find the right balance there is certainly not easy,” Zetsche told the publication. “If you were in the times of Henry Ford, he would say ‘you can have all the versions you want as long as they are Model T.’ We’re not in that world anymore,” added Zetsche.
An automaker can produce only so many variants of a vehicle before it runs out of new cars to build. Instead of continuing to overlap its products, Mercedes will look to entering new niches altogether.
“More recently we have made some significant moves,” he said. “Look at the X-Class, for example. Moving into pick-ups – that’s not just a minor niche, it’s a substantial move forward.”
While not every market will receive the X-Class pickup truck, its addition to the Mercedes lineup proves the automaker isn’t out of ideas just yet.
“There are not that many niches left to fill, of course. But, we stay creative and innovative. I can’t tell you what ideas we will have tomorrow. But we have a pretty full picture.”
Source: Top Gear