Why slow sales didn’t kill Mercedes SL


Mercedes has announced a whole new one SL Roadster..But the 7th generation This iconThe longest-running nameplate from the longest-running carmaker — enters a changing market. In the early 2000s, Mercedes regularly sold about 13,000 SLs annually. Last year, only 1,300 people moved from dealer lots.

So what happened and why does Mercedes continue to bother?

Well, for one thing, trucks and crossovers have devoured market share for all car models. “Of course, the SUV segment is a segment that is making great strides year after year,” said Michael Knoller, Global Head of Marketing and Sales at Mercedes-AMG, the developer of the latest SL.

The proliferation of Mercedes’ own model also had a cannibal effect. “Looking at the US market, I think we need to include what we have provided in addition to the core segment. S-class coupe and cabriolet, When Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster“Knoller says. 2-door S class Eliminated, And the GT will become a more purebred sports car, ideally leaving more room for SL to fulfill its mission to patrol the world’s Rodeo Drive.

Re-entry into the market of viable former competitors Lexus LC, Was also affected. Todd Bricken, Staff, Product Marketing Manager for the Lexus brand, said: Energetic handsome Luxury sports coupe / convertible. “It’s up almost 35 percent from last year.”

Interestingly, certain EVs are also consuming a share of this lofty category. “If you take the Mercedes SL most seriously and look at what you buy instead, Tesla will emerge as the number one brand,” said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision, a car research and consulting firm. .. “Tesla has changed the way people with large sums of money think about performance, so if someone is trying to add a performance vehicle to their fleet, Tesla will be put into the consideration set and set aside others. I was bullied. “

So why is Mercedes doing its best? The good part of it is simply Marque’s ritual commitment to its heritage. “It’s important for us to include this SL in our product portfolio, because for the brand, it’s one of the icons. Since the 1950s“Every 10 years, there is an SL that reflects the lifestyle of that era,” says Knoller.

However, this decision is also based on serving particularly valuable consumers. “SL’s customers are more loyal customers, so keeping the icon alive is not only marketing, but also meeting customer expectations for our portfolio,” says Knoller. “And household income is pretty high,” he added. Edwards data confirms this. “Especially in the case of SL [the buyers] He is an older man who earns more than most mere mortals. “

Second, there is fame that there are players who are viable in this area, especially those who have been abdicated by other competitors. “Luxury coupe is very important for premium brands. It acts as a halo,” says Blickenstaff. “The awareness of the coupe is much greater than the volume of the market suggests, as the loyalty of the coupe owners makes them truly effective brand ambassadors.”

Finally, like all the best vehicles, ownership decisions are not entirely logical and are driven by other, often more powerful forces. “There is reasonable segmentation to see SUVs grow and market share grow, while there are these special customers who really love this kind of roadster,” says Knoller. “They have a special moment when they want to have fun with their friends, so they need a special kind of car to get goosebumps at that moment.”

Statistics also support this. “According to our 2021 Comprehensive Quality Survey, SL literally Perfect Score by providing an emotional experience of fun. And you never get rid of perfection. “Edwards says.

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Why slow sales didn’t kill Mercedes SL

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