Speaking to Autocar at this year’s IAA in Munich, Mercedes-Benz CEO Markus Schäfer hinted that the future of the brand’s niche body styles is being questioned. With regards to station wagons in particular, he says, “estate cars, we have to see. This market is under pressure as more and more customers move to SUVs, and there are just a few markets left for estates and station wagons. So we have to see how the volumes are developing. They’re technically absolutely possible – that wouldn’t be a problem – but it’s more a question of how this niche is developing. I know the UK is a great market for station wagons.”
It’s understood that Europe is one of the few markets left in the world that still sees a demand for station wagon products. Key markets such as China and the USA are moving rapidly towards SUV offerings.
Schäfer also stated that the future of its coupes and cabriolets is looking bleak as well. He says, “We have to recognise that the demand for cabriolets is dropping around the world – China is not a roadster-covering market and there are less buyers in Europe who decide on a cabriolet, compared to some years ago. But I think it’s a very attractive product and an emotional product… we will have to think about the coupé as well,
“It’s not that easy to build a good-looking cabriolet [as an EV],” he adds. “It’s an engineering effort – it’s quite a job and a task to keep it in nice proportions and not to lift it too high, with a big battery underneath it. There are some cars out in the market that would not meet our tastes. So we will come up with something better.”