Utility vehicles continue to be in high demand in the United States – not only in the mainstream segment but also in the premium league. Mercedes-Benz is one of the automakers that are most dependent on its SUV range and it has decided to trim down its lineup of sedans and coupes to simplify its product portfolio. The C-Class and E-Class in coupe and convertible forms are living on borrowed time and will reportedly be replaced by a brand new model – the so-called CLE-Class.
The German luxury automaker has already informed its dealers in the US that the CLE will debut soon to take the place of the both the two-door C and E. With no new S-Class Coupe on the horizon, Mercedes will have a simplified range of coupe and convertible models and there’s a very easy explanation for that – the demand for two-door vehicles is down to the minimum these days.
Gallery: Mercedes-AMG CLE63 Convertible New Spy Photos
"There's just not enough demand for three coupe models," a dealer told Automotive News after a national dealer meeting last month. "So, it didn't make sense to reinvest the billions of dollars it would take to do a refreshed version of any of those."
The CLE is expected to debut officially later this year and go on sale in the first half of 2023 initially with a single electrified 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A fully-fledged AMG version is planned for later next year, though – just like the new C63 – it will again use a 2.0-liter engine with electric support. The Mercedes dealers don't see huge potential for market success, though, as the coupe-crossovers are eating a large portion of the pie already.
"Utility vehicles are appealing to a wider market as younger buyers appreciate the ability to throw their gear in the back, and older buyers like the ease of getting in and out of the vehicle," one dealer told Automotive News.
Based on the MRA-2 platform, the first-ever CLE will have proportions similar to those of the C-Class and will be sold with a fabric roof. There are rumors about a potential coupe version, though there’s no official word from Mercedes yet. Production should start before the end of this year at the company’s plant in Bremen, Germany.