“Isn’t the sheer number of Mercedes models getting a little confusing?”

Deputy editor Graham Hope is struggling to make sense of Merc's ever-expanding range

Merc opinion

It felt a little like a school lesson, although undoubtedly it wasn’t intended to do so. Mercedes marketing boss Ola Kallenius was on the company’s stand at the Detroit Motor Show, explaining its new naming strategy in preparation for a blitz of new models.

Behind him, on a vast display, the letters of what the brand terms its core models – the A-Class, C-Class, E-Class and S-Class – shone brightly. That of, course, spells ACES – a bonus for Mercedes’ marketing wizards.

Underneath were the SUV derivatives, which reasonably logically if you think about it, are now called GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS.

But as the niches multiply, there was another derivative stealing the headlines on the Detroit stand – the GLE Coupe, an SUV coupe which will essentially rival BMW’s X6.

Then, of course, there’s the hot version of that, which adds AMG and an S to the name to become a real alphabet soup of a proposition.

Still with me? You could be forgiven if you were beginning to lose track. And you wouldn’t be alone, as at two separate press events I attended at Detroit, the first question asked by a journalist was along the lines of “Isn’t the sheer number of models getting a little confusing?”

Boss Dr Dieter Zetsche was honest enough to admit that some customers are “struggling with the complexity” but added that he saw “more upside potential in expanding the portfolio” and that another 11 cars were due to join the range before the end of the decade.

It’s this complexity, he argued, which has driven the new naming strategy.

Mercedes planning Maybach SUV

Ola Kallenius was even more succinct on the proliferation of models. “We want to create a perfect car for every customer,” he said.

And, of course, the sales figures would seem to back up what Mercedes is doing. Its growth rate of 12.9 per cent in 2014 was higher than any other premium manufacturer's.

But despite the success, there is clearly some concern potential buyers simply won’t be able to follow what is going on. Zetsche’s joke – “We’ll soon have more models than there are letters of the alphabet” – betrayed a little of that.

And the fact Kallenius felt compelled to explain the strategy in front of a global audience at Detroit further underlined it.

I’ve no doubt Mercedes’ thinking will pay off in the long term. The quality of the cars will ensure that. But I’d forgive you if, like me, you’re struggling to keep track of it all.

Are you confused by the Mercedes range? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

New 2021 Mercedes EQS: Hyperscreen infotainment system unveiled
Mercedes EQS Hyperscreen
Mercedes EQS

New 2021 Mercedes EQS: Hyperscreen infotainment system unveiled

The Mercedes EQS electric saloon will feature a new Hyperscreen infotainment system, which is a more powerful version of the brand’s existing MBUX set…
7 Jan 2021
New 2022 Mercedes T-Class van-based MPV spotted testing
Vans

New 2022 Mercedes T-Class van-based MPV spotted testing

The new Mercedes T-Class MPV is set to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2022, sitting below the V-Class in the German brand's line-up
4 Dec 2020
Facelifted Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe spied
Mercedes-AMG GT four-door - Geneva front
Mercedes

Facelifted Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe spied

Revised Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door coming in 2021 with plug-in hybrid power on the cards
10 Nov 2020
Mercedes to increase Aston Martin share holding to 20% as part of new deal
Aston Martin

Mercedes to increase Aston Martin share holding to 20% as part of new deal

Aston Martin to take further technologies from Mercedes in return for further shares in the financially battered British company
27 Oct 2020

Most Popular

BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI
BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI
Car group tests

BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI

The new BMW 128ti goes up against the latest iteration of the car that kicked off the hatch segment - the Volkswagen Golf GTI
27 Feb 2021
Jaguar platform sharing talks and upmarket move revealed
Jaguar F-Type V6S badge
Jaguar

Jaguar platform sharing talks and upmarket move revealed

Jaguar is set to move upmarket, while sharing tech with another car maker
27 Feb 2021
Volvo XC40 Recharge gets extra range in first over-the-air update
Volvo XC40
News

Volvo XC40 Recharge gets extra range in first over-the-air update

The software update brings minor improvements to the electric SUV’s driving range and charging time
26 Feb 2021