Currently reading: Mercedes launches exclusive Mythos brand in radical luxury shift
Stuttgart to cull entry-level models and introduce more high-end specials in push for higher margins

Mercedes-Benz has launched a dedicated brand for "highly exclusive collectible cars", Mythos, as part of its push to boost top-end vehicle sales by 60% from 2019 to 2026. 

Announced today as the German firm outlined its long-term product strategy plans, Mythos will produce low-volume special vehicles for "the most dedicated enthusiasts and collectors of Mercedes-Benz".

A preview image shown by Mercedes suggests the first Mythos car will be an open-roof speedster based on the new Mercedes-AMG SL, likely positioned as a rival to similarly conceived creations from Aston MartinFerrari and McLaren.

Mythos will in effect sit above Maybach in terms of Mercedes' brand portfolio. 

Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius said: "Most luxury companies build their portfolio on the basis of one or two true icons. Mercedes-Benz has the good fortune to have multiple iconic products and brands at the upper end of its portfolio, such as the S-Class, the SL, the G-Class as well as the AMG and Maybach brands. 

"We see great potential here to expand our top-end portfolio with even more fascinating products for our customers."

By focusing on its most luxurious, highest-margin products, Mercedes aims to "deliver a strong financial result even under more challenging market conditions". 

It's aiming for an operating margin of 14% by the middle of the decade and supporting that goal by diverting 75% of its overall investments to development of these higher-margin cars. 

Like many manufacturers, it has prioritised the production of more expensive models throughout the ongoing supply-chain crisis, with a 30% uptick in demand for range-topping models helping to drive a 9% revenue increase last year, even as production volumes dipped by 5%. 

Mercedes said that it will henceforth focus on three distinct categories of car: top-end luxury, core luxury and entry luxury.

Top-end luxury comprises all AMG and Maybach vehicles; the most expensive EQ-badged EVs; Mercedes S-Class, Mercedes GLS and Mercedes G-Class derivatives; and any limited-edition models.

A crucial component of this new strategy will be the Maybach version of the new EQS SUV, which was previewed at last year's Munich motor show and is set to arrive in dealerships in 2023.

There will also be a Maybach version of the SL, and a new Maybach coupé, which is likely to be based on the upcoming AMG GT.

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Mercedes said it's still evaluating an expansion of the G family beyond today's G-Class. In 2024, it will launch an electric version of the luxurious 4x4, badged the EQG

Core luxury refers to the higher-volume Mercedes C-Class and Mercedes E-Class models, the latter of which will enter a new generation next year and "point the way forward for the segment". 

The shift towards more luxurious products has significant implications for entry-level Mercedes models, which Källenius alluded to earlier this month in suggesting the brand would "rather be looking up than down". 

Mercedes will cull its line-up of entry-level models from seven to four "while significantly elevating the technological substance of these products".

The first compact EV atop the new MMA platform, arriving in 2024, will set the tone for a reinvention of this part of the line-up. 

It's unclear exactly which models will be axed as part of the revamp, but a recent silhouette image hinted at a new entry-level four-door coupé in the mould of the CLA. 

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beechie 19 May 2022
Stutgart's answer to the much-heralded 'cost of living crisis'?

I think they're on the right lines, actually. It won't be as bad as the left-wing dominated media would have us believe. I remember the 1970s and they weren't as bad as the wet-behind-the-ears commentators (who don't remember them) would have us believe.

Andrew1 19 May 2022
A good choice. A Classe is pointless when it can't compete with the likes of 308 on design and quality. The entry models on C Classe lose out on price/quality to many other models.
F6C 19 May 2022

Things like this make me think a big crash is coming.

All the big brands going after hyper luxury, increasingly considering dropping their lower end models. Its all predicated on the continuation of the recent trend for more and more wealth. Whenever that kind of assumption has become widespread in the past, it has been fairly quickly followed by a major crash.

What with all the quantitative easing and the money thrown around in the pandemic, really serious inflation feels like a real risk and if that happens all this hyperluxury stuff will seem like a very ill advised wheeze.