Even German Automakers Admit Niche Models Have Gotten Out Of Hand


The problem is that we'll see some of our favorite cars axed to make room for more vehicular oddities.

For years, it was hard to say whether or not the uptick in popularity of SUVs and crossovers was a trend or the new rule. Given the billions of dollars of investment, the ensuing flood of new crossover models, and the advancement of technology that has rendered larger cars as practical, fuel efficient, increasingly attractive, and lacking in the downsides that the previous generation of SUVs had, we'd wager the crossover is here to stay. The only issue is that German automakers seem to have gone overboard with the niche cars.


In an interview with Car and Driver, BMW's head of sales Ian Robertson and Mercedes-Benz head Dieter Zetsche, both acknowledged that things have gone too far. "The checkerboard of body styles and segments is rather full, although there are still a few to be finished," said Robertson. "We've got an X2 and an X7 coming, and there are a few others, but I also know-because we've taken decisions-that some body styles will be removed in the future." Unfortunately, both Robertson and Zetsche agree that the obscure CUVs like the Mercedes GLA or CLA Coupe won't be the ones getting the axe. Instead, both automakers will pick and choose from the enthusiast's corner of the buffet, meaning coupes and convertibles will be the first to go.

"The specialty cars, these coupes and convertibles, were always niche cars," said Zetsche. "The expansion into China and other emerging markets [has given] huge opportunities for sedans, but they did not take up these specialty cars. Which makes the business case for these vehicles less easy." This is a bit contradicting to Mercedes' and BMW's current plans of action, which include coupe and convertible versions of the C, E, and S class while the Blue and White Roundel offers the 2 Series and 4 Series coupe and convertible and will soon debut a range-topping 8 Series to compete with two-door S-Class models. Evidence of slash and burn tactics used on enthusiast cars can be seen with the upcoming Z5.


BMW has co created this car with Toyota (which will spawn the new Supra out of the chassis) in order to cut costs on the niche vehicle. Even Zetsche claimed that future versions of Mercedes cars offered in coupe and convertible format would not come "in the variety we are having them right now." However, things aren't all bad because there is still a fair amount of demand for attractive four-door coupe models like the 6 Series Gran Coupe. Expect to see more of these during the transition but for now, don't hesitate to indulge on one of these cars because your dream German coupe or convertible may not be around much longer.

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