BMW, Mercedes to prune lineups

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Dieter Zetsche on the Mercedes-Benz stand at the 2017 Geneva auto show

Dieter Zetsche on the Mercedes-Benz stand at the 2017 Geneva auto show

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While most major automakers struggle to justify a convertible—if in doubt just ask Toyota about an 86 convertible—Mercedes-Benz has no less than six in its lineup. Seven if you count models from Smart.

Sales of luxury vehicles have boomed since last decade's global financial crisis, thanks to a combination of record low interest rates and the opening up of new markets. But some players in the luxury segment are starting to realize that the commensurate expansion in their respective lineups may have been a bit too speedy.

“The specialty cars, these coupes and convertibles, were always niche cars,” Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche said to media at this month’s 2017 Geneva auto show, including Car and Driver. “The expansion into China and other emerging markets [has given] huge opportunities for sedans, but they did not take up these specialty cars.”

Zetsche went on to confirm that while Mercedes will continue to offer multiple two-door models, they won't come “in the variety” on offer at present.

It’s an attitude shared by BMW. Also speaking with Car and Driver, BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson said BMW will be adding some models into growing areas but at the same time will be removing some body styles.

“We’ve got an X2 and an X7 coming, and there are a few others, but I also know—because we’ve taken decisions—that some body styles will be removed in the future,” he said.

 
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