Mercedes-Benz is temporarily cutting production of its flagship sedan to just one shift as demand for the current S-Class has dropped. Next month, workers will move to the C-Class assembly line until production of the next-generation 2014 S-Class begins.
Mercedes will build approximately 8000 less S-Class sedans in the fourth quarter. Year-to-date sales of the S-Class in the U.S. are down 7.5 percent with 8214 sold by the end of last month. September sales were down 36.1 percent compared to the same month last year with just 925 units sold. In Europe, S-Class sales were down 27 percent year-to-date.
The next-generation S-Class could be available in seven variants including a two-door convertible and six-door Pullman-style limo. Short wheelbase models could stretch 200.8 inches overall with long-wheelbase (7.1-inch longer), extra-long wheelbase (13.8 inches longer), and Pullman (25.6 inches longer) models, now that Maybach is gone. The CL-Class could be renamed SLC and come in two-door coupe and convertible body styles and, not surprisingly, we’ve heard that a coupe-like four-door is also a possibility.
We expect V-8 and V-12 models to return as well as hybrid and the diesel V-6. A base gasoline V-6 with well over 300 hp may serve as the new S-Class’ base model in the U.S. As the German automaker’s flagship, the S-Class is expected to preview new technologies including Magic Body Control, a new camera-based suspension dampening system; intelligent LED headlights, rear seatbelt-mounted airbags (Beltbag), and an all-new active cruise control system that will reportedly change lanes and perform passing maneuvers.