Mercedes-Benz will introduce its new EQ subbrand in the U.S. with an electric variant of the S-Class sedan, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius told Automotive News Wednesday.
Initially, the automaker had planned to launch with the EQC compact crossover.
"We will start and lead with the EQS, that's our strategy for the U.S.," Kallenius said. "We said that for positioning the EQ brand in the U.S., start from the top and then go from there."
It's a noteworthy strategy for the truck-obsessed U.S. market. Light trucks account for 75.5 percent of total vehicle sales in the U.S.
Still, the S-class draws some of the brand's most loyal customers, with 70 percent of owners staying with the nameplate or another Mercedes model, the company says.
The EQS sedan is Mercedes' full-electric rival to the Tesla Model S and is slated to arrive in the U.S. next summer. It will travel more than 700 km (435 miles) on a single charge, based on the WLTP testing cycle.
The EQC crossover, which had been scheduled to arrive in the U.S. earlier this year, has been delayed until 2021.
The EQC, powered by an 80-kilowatt-hour battery, has about a 280-mile range on a full charge, based on New European Driving Cycle estimates.