Mercedes-Benz chief executive Dieter Zetsche has announced the company’s large-scale program to introduce 10 new and 22 heavily upgraded and/or refreshed models into the five market segments before the end of 2015. Mercedes-Benz is aiming to match the forecasted growth rates of fellow German competitors Audi and BMW through 2015.
Mercedes’ expansion strategy calls for the company to retain its traditional core models, like the C, E and S-classes as well as all their current variants, and to significantly expand at the lower end of its present line-up. The strategy also calls for building on its premium car portfolio to replace the Maybach models which will be phased out within the next two years.
Spearheading the company’s expansion strategy among the new models is the Mercedes-Benz SLC sports car, which the company is grooming to rival the Porsche 911. The company will roll out the SLC sports car in 2014 with a projected price of £75,000.
The two-door front-engine sports car is the brainchild of the cooperation between Mercedes’ regular passenger car department and AMG performance car division. According to Zetsche, the SLC sports car will be an addition to Mercedes’ mid-size line-up, which will also include the new fourth-generation C-class due in 2014 and future variants of the C-class estate and C-class coupè.
The company will also unveil a new open-top C-class cabriolet in 2015, as well as a refreshed version of the current SLK in 2014. Mercedes will introduce at least three new models aimed at attracting younger generation buyers, with hopes of boosting its affordable range, which includes the B-class MPV and soon-to-be-revealed five-door A-class hatchback.
The new models include a four-door saloon in lieu of the CLC and a five-door CLC Shooting Brake due to be launched in 2012. Mercedes will also launch a junior SUV, likely to be dubbed the GLC, in 2014. All the new vehicles will be built using the Mercedes’ highly flexible MFA (modular front architecture) platform.