The brand's first all-electric SUV is not off to a good start.
It's been over a year since Mercedes-Benz revealed its all-new EQC all-electric SUV, which was expected to go on sale in the US as a 2020 model. It will be just the start of Mercedes' push into EVs as more EQ-branded models are due to arrive over the next few years, including the Tesla Model S rivaling EQS sedan. However, things have just taken a slight turn for the worst regarding the EQC.
According to Automotive News, Mercedes informed its US dealerships this past Friday the EQC's launch has been delayed until 2021. It was originally set to go on sale here in early 2020. What's the cause of the delay? Mercedes claims the reason is strong European demand. "In a recent direction from Daimler AG, it is a strategic decision to first support the growing customer demand for the EQC in Europe," the automaker said.
One reason for the sudden increase in EQC demand in Europe comes in the wake of the EU Parliament mandating a 37.5 percent cut in new-vehicle emissions by 2030. This is obviously a major reduction that needs to happen rather fast. If automakers don't meet this deadline they'll be subject to expensive noncompliance fines.
While Europe is currently being favored over the US, this leaves American Mercedes dealerships without an all-electric SUV to sell for at least another year. Meanwhile, chief rivals like the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace will continue to sell in solid numbers alongside newcomers like the Audi e-tron and e-Tron Sportback. Next year, BMW will launch the iX3 midsize crossover while Tesla is scheduled to release the Model Y.
"Any delays are a setback that keeps us from being competitive," said one Mercedes US dealership owner. "If you're a California dealer, and knowing that over 50 percent of Teslas are sold in California, I would be disappointed." Although Mercedes has a manufacturing plant in Alabama, home of the GLE, GLS, and C-Class models, the EQC is built in Bremen, Germany. Mercedes' goal is to increase EQC output there to 200 units daily while total capacity will be 50,000 units annually.
Unfortunately, American EQC buyers and Mercedes dealerships will have to be patient.