Overall, the new S-Class will have 86 percent fewer configurations, Mercedes said. Several options previously available a la carte will be bundled into the three new trim lines.
That will help the customer, dealer and factory, Mercedes-Benz USA sales chief Adam Chamberlain told Automotive News. Too much choice can have its downsides — overwhelming consumers and making inventory management expensive and complicated for retailers.
"It simplifies the ordering of vehicles for the dealer and customer, and should help our supply chain," Chamberlain said.
Mercedes will go even deeper in slimming down the lineup. The brand plans to jettison seven car models from the U.S. market, former Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Nicholas Speeks told dealers last summer.
According to people familiar with the plans, those under consideration include the coupe and convertible versions of the S-, C- and E-Class nameplates, as well as the CLS coupe and one of the brand's GT models.
Some Mercedes dealers welcome the plan, noting an expansive list of model variants and trim levels can ding sales and residual values.
The simplification of the model lineup is a "win-win" for Mercedes and its retailers, said Greg Barnes, president of Ussery Automotive Group, which operates two Mercedes dealerships in the Miami area.
It will lower floorplan costs and reduce expensive and time-consuming dealer swaps to ensure customers get the vehicle they want, Barnes said.
With fewer trims, dealers are more likely to have the right vehicle, with the right equipment, at the right time.
That could be the difference between closing a deal or losing it to a competitor down the street.