This may be the most crowded and convoluted luxury car market in the history of the automobile. There are niches of niches of niches, with cars like the BMW X4 M40i and Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe, that occupy the smallest of customer bases. Because of this, BMW wants to sort of scale back and refine its model portfolio a bit, tighten it up a bit, while Mercedes-Benz actually wants to increase and expand.
“If we talk about individual body shapes, we are sitting at about 33 or 34 now in our portfolio, and we have laid a clear path up to 2020 to go to about 40,” said Ola Kaellenius, Head of Product Development at Mercedes-Benz. But the three-pointed star doesn’t feel that these new vehicles will just be odd niches. “There are still segments we feel we could capture, and I’m not just talking about niches of niches, I’m also talking about segments with very relevant volumes.”
However, BMW feels otherwise, feeling the need to tighten up its model line. “The checkerboard is getting quite full. There are not many more concepts. And I think we are reaching the phase where we will start to take some out — it’s too complicated, and there are too many. And there are products whose market has dropped and not recovered.” said BMW’s own Ian Robertson. “The areas where recovery didn’t happen were places like roadsters and convertibles, so most manufacturers are extending the life span of those types of products or looking for joint venture partners.”
This doesn’t mean that BMW will just be dropping models, though. “We will refine it, shall we say,” said Robertson. So maybe just getting rid of some of the niche vehicles built off of existing models.
So while Mercedes-Benz expands its lineup to an almost crazy-sounding 40 vehicles, BMW wants to refine its lineup. We can’t say for sure which plan will work, or maybe they both work, but it’s interesting to see the two Germans having two completely opposite game plans for the future, as we all know how much zee Germans like to copy each other.