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Mercedes-Benz to drop models, variants

The company sells nearly 90 model variants in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz's American division has told its dealers that it will trim its line-up in the coming months, according to insiders who attended a meeting about the topic. The company is preparing to deep-six slow-selling models and trim levels, while reducing the number of options and trim packages buyers can choose from.

"We're going to see models go away within the next 12 months. Within the next 90 days, we might see some of those announcements," a dealer who attended the meeting told Automotive News. The comments suggest the changes will come into effect for the 2020 model year.

By entering niche after niche, Mercedes has expanded its portfolio to include 15 nameplates in the United States. Factor in the different variants of each car and the firm sells almost 90 models. That number will continue to grow, too; the A-Class is now available in America as a sedan, the electric EQC is about a year away, and a new crossover named GLB will arrive before the end of the year. Mercedes is releasing at least two AMG-badged variants of many nameplates, a mid-range one and a range-topping one, a strategy which adds even more versions.

We know the SLC -- which started life as the SLK -- will not be replaced because the segment it competes in is shrinking. It's nearing the end of its life cycle; Mercedes already released a model named Final Edition. The two-door variants of the C-Class and the S-Class could also disappear for the same reason.

We will have a better idea of the changes Mercedes-Benz is making when it details its 2020 line-up.

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