BMW and Mercedes-Benz product lineups have grown exponentially in recent years, and for Mercedes, that's not about to stop. But BMW is more circumspect about further luxury-class fragmentation.
M-B, BMW have own ideas about more product
Mercedes announced its new EQ lineup of electric vehicles last year, and even beyond the subbrand, product development head Ola Kaellenius says, "There is portfolio growth still to come.
"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 Kaellenius, who moved over from the top sales and marketing job on Jan. 1. "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."
He added: "We will only do it if we have a sensible business case," and he said some models could be dropped in time.
"If we see a segment that is not performing ... we don't have any problem cutting a branch off. But, yes, there is portfolio growth still to come. Once we're at this 40-ish, we'll see if there is creativity in the market for another 10."
As for BMW, Ian Robertson, head of global sales and marketing, said: "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."
He said: "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."
Will BMW reduce the number of body styles? "We will refine it, shall we say," Robertson said.
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