When Mercedes abruptly pulled the overwhelming majority of its V-8 fashions from the U.S. marketplace for the upcoming mannequin yr, it did one thing not simply weird within the conservative auto enterprise however unprecedented in any sector. It is definitely not typical for a big automaker with enormous manufacturing capability to shut the ordering books on its hottest and worthwhile merchandise—particularly when lots of these fashions have just lately debuted. As for why, the corporate can not seem to get its story straight.
Reached for remark in August when the information first broke, a Mercedes-AMG spokesperson offered the next fastidiously parsed assertion:
“The Firm’s prioritized focus to adjust to varied world, exterior and inner necessities, in addition to a number of different elements, together with however not restricted to challenges within the provide chain, have an effect on the providing of the product portfolio in varied markets.
• Mercedes-Benz is exploring each alternative to unravel the challenges at hand as quickly as potential.
• We shall be working carefully with our sellers and clients to assist alleviate any inconvenience ensuing from delays.
• We’re engaged on an answer as rapidly as potential.
• Relying available on the market, this issues completely different mannequin sequence for mannequin yr 2022. Please perceive that we’ll not remark additional on this matter.”
Forward of the Munich IAA auto present, although, Highway & Observe sat down with Mercedes’s head of the High Finish Car Group, Philipp Schiemer. Schiemer, who oversees Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach, and the G-class, stated that he could not present extra data than that information-light official assertion. Regardless of that, his response prompt a special purpose than what we have heard up to now.
“I can’t offer you extra particulars. It is a high quality subject. We’re updating our autos yearly, and we aren’t happy with the standard. And for us it is high quality first. So we now have to do some retesting and that is the method we’re in in the mean time. So it relies upon from mannequin to mannequin,” Schiemer stated, noting that the V-8 S580 continues to be being provided within the U.S. “So it is from car to car, from nation to nation a special sort of state of affairs.”
Requested whether or not he might elaborate on the standard subject, Schiemer replied bluntly: “No.”
Regardless, a high quality subject can’t totally clarify it. As a result of whereas that’d be a pure purpose for an automaker to droop manufacturing, it doesn’t clarify why the corporate—as a spokesperson confirmed—is extending manufacturing of the 2021 G-class regardless of the 2022 G-class being off-menu. It additionally doesn’t clarify why Aston Martin, which makes use of Mercedes’s 4.0-liter V-8, has confirmed that it’ll not be affected by this. And it definitely doesn’t clarify why this downside is completely different on a market-by-market foundation.
Provide-chain constraints are equally unable to clarify the totality of the problem, particularly provided that this got here largely with out warning and the corporate continues to be supplying Aston Martin with V-8s. That leaves the compliance angle, alluded to within the official assertion and Schiemer’s feedback. Most engine modifications require recertification by related authorities, that means that it may be a prolonged course of to get a car again on sale when there’s an surprising change. American authorities, particularly, have usually been gradual to certify autos normally and particularly German ones within the wake of wide-ranging emissions scandals. Which may be the more than likely rationalization.
One lingering query stays, although. Why—if it is a bureaucratic holdup or a easy provide chain downside forcing recertification—is Mercedes being so opaque about it? We have reached out to the automaker for additional clarification and can replace after we hear again.
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