If you’re wanting to buy a new vehicle in the U.S., expect to wait quite a while if you go looking for a Mercedes product with a V-8 engine this coming model year. The automaker confirmed Monday social media reports that it has delayed production of products such as the GLE 580 SUV and E 63 sedan due to supply chain issues.
The cuts by Mercedes come at a time when the auto industry, overall, is struggling to deal with shortages of key parts and components. These include not only semiconductor chips, but also some rubber and petroleum-based goods. Nissan recently announced it would halt production at its big Smyrna, Tennessee plant through late August, while Ford revealed deliveries of the Mustang Mach-E battery-electric vehicle could be pushed back by more than a month due to supply issues.
With only a few exceptions, Mercedes has advised U.S. dealers they won’t be getting V-8 models for the 2022 model year. That includes all versions of the G-Wagen SUV, and most — though not all — of the high-performance Mercedes-AMG models.
Only two V-8 models exempted
The news first was reported by a Reddit user citing a notice sent to U.S. dealers last week. It indicated that a broad swath of the product lines sold by Mercedes-Benz USA would be affected, including: the C 63, GLC 63, E 63, G 550 and G 63, GLE 580, GLS 580, GLE 63, GLS 63, and the GLS 600 Maybach.
Only two V-8 models sold in the U.S. will remain available: the new S 580 and S 580 Maybach. Those two are critical offerings as they effectively underpin the launch of the latest-generation S-Class line that is just coming to market.
While Mercedes officials declined to go on the record to discuss the issue, several confirmed on background the general accuracy of the Reddit report, and a representative sent TheDetroitBureau.com a statement noting:
- The company’s prioritized focus to comply with various global, external and internal requirements, as well as several other factors, including but not limited to challenges in the supply chain, have an impact on the offering of the product portfolio in various markets.
- Mercedes-Benz is exploring every opportunity to solve the challenges at hand as soon as possible.
- We will be working closely with our dealers and customers to help alleviate any inconvenience resulting from delays.
A body blow to U.S. sales
U.S. dealers have been told stop selling V-8 models. Making matters tougher for retailers, they now must advise customers who have already placed orders that their vehicles won’t be delivered, at least not anytime soon.
Mercedes has long battled for supremacy in the U.S. luxury market with rivals BMW and Lexus. Unless it can convert most customers to vehicles using 4- and 6-cylinder models — or the new electric offerings set to launch later this year — it is likely to become just an also-ran in the American market in 2022. Then again, those competitors have been facing supply issues of their own, particularly when it comes to semiconductors.
For the moment, the problem appears to be limited to the United States, the second-largest global market for Mercedes. It vies with China as the top outlet for V-8 models and, in particular, for AMG-badged products.
Other markets could be impacted
Reports have appeared in several overseas publications indicating other markets may face the loss of V-8 models, as well. The automaker did not comment on whether that might happen.
In the wake of last year’s pandemic-related moves, automakers have been struggling with a variety of issues, including shortages of various materials, parts and components. The chip shortage has been the biggest issue and is expected to reduce global vehicle sales by millions this year. Virtually every manufacturer, large and small has so far been expected. The semiconductor issue is expected to continue through at least late this year, if not well into 2022.