It’s a record. Mercedes intends to put 60 billion euros on the table for the transition to electric by 2026. Admittedly, the sum is less than 70 billion advanced by Volkswagen in the same scale. But VW makes its investment for its five main brands (Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche), while the Stuttgart star, stripped of its Smart subsidiary, is a single brand.
This “kolossal” investment was decided at the end of last year with a clear objective: to advance the deadline for the ban on thermal vehicles set for 2035. From 2025, all the architectures of new cars will be exclusively electric. A risky bet? Not if Europe maintains its directive, and we understand better that the leaders of the star approved the vote in Strasbourg on June 9, setting the deadline for the transition.
Waiting for 2025, the EQ catalog, the “family” of electric Mercedes is growing month by month. It already has 5 models and will increase by a sixth: the EQE SUV which we will discover on October 16th. But, from the “small” EQA at 44,000 euros, to the imposing EQS at 135,000 euros (excluding options) aren’t the prices too high? And isn’t EV mode likely to put off a reputedly conservative clientele like that of Mercedes?
Focus on electric and luxury
On the price side, the electric models from Stuttgart are obviously more expensive than the thermal ones. Thus the best-selling Mercedes in the world today, the GLC SUV, is displayed, in its 300th rechargeable hybrid variant, at 61,300 euros. The EQC, its watt variant, starts at 79,000 euros, but its additional equipment greatly limits the gap. And Mercedes customers seem ready to take the plunge. The proof by the EQS, the most expensive of the house electric park. It has already been ordered in more than 30,000 copies since the beginning of the year. Obviously, the classic S-Class and thermal still displays a score of almost double, but the good figures of the electric, and the increase of 145% over one year, confirms Mercedes in its choices of luxury and electric.
Because it is a double revolution in which Mercedes is engaged. On the one hand, Stuttgart is abandoning the thermal, and on the other, the brand is betting on a move upmarket. Already premium, it should therefore become a real luxury brand. Some models like Class A and B could therefore pay the price, at least in their basic finishes. Further, higher and stronger: this is the ambition of Mercedes, with the support of its subsidiary AMG and its Maybach label, both of which will be put to intense use from 2024.
A veritable Trojan horse of this new Mercedes era, the EQXX concept car, with its radical design and its autonomy of more than 1,000 km could well inspire the first production model of this new era within two years. Moreover, who says luxury, says super cars and ultra-limited series. An offer that is also planned, in addition to the Maybach and AMG “collections”. These very special and very expensive series will be grouped under a sign with a particular name, which could trigger some jokes, since it is called “Mythos”.
It will be understood, Mercedes has adopted the slogan “to continue to earn money, let’s sell less and more expensively”. A slogan that seems widely shared by the automotive industry at the moment. Except that to succeed both in switching to all-electric and to luxury, you need money, lots of money. Especially since the star intends to differentiate itself from other luxury brands through a technological orgy, which requires much greater investment than a simple development of powerful Aston Martin-style models.
Two entities to finance the revolution
This is why the company has simply changed its name. Daimler, the original parent company, simply became Mercedes-Benz Group. A way of separating the automobile and heavy goods vehicle activities which is not just a facade, since it allows the two separate entities to enter the stock market each on their side and to raise funds. When you’re a car manufacturer, you don’t just have to know how to make cars, you have to know how to find the billions to finance them.