8 Mercedes Developments We’re Looking Forward to in 2019
Refreshed SUVs, a ‘Tesla-Killer’ and a new CEO. Just a few things that’ll make M-B fans salivate in 2019.
With more than two million vehicle sales and a record-breaking Formula One season, Mercedes has undoubtedly had an illustrious 2018.
However, given the rapid transformations taking place in the automotive industry today, dwelling on the past, irrespective of how glorious it might be, is inadvisable. This is why we at MBWorld have created a list of eight developments that Mercedes enthusiasts should look out for in 2019.
1. Battle for Sales Supremacy
Mercedes-Benz is currently the best-selling automotive luxury brand in the world. However and rather ironically, it should be more worried than ever about its competition.
After all, Audi, BMW and Lexus have all rapidly expanded and improved their product portfolios, while the Tesla Model 3 has completely annihilated the Mercedes C-Class in the United States. If that wasn’t enough, you have the ever-improving Tier-2 brands such as Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover and also American and Chinese upstarts such as NIO, which is reportedly gaining a Tesla-like following in China because of its technological innovations and lifestyle-oriented retail outlets.
2. New GLS-Class Reveal
The GLS-Class is not a volume-seller for Mercedes, but its flagship positioning makes it an important brand-builder and also, large SUVs tend to have very high profit margins.
Thus, we expect Mercedes to fully go to town with the next-generation model, to be revealed next year, equipping it with enhanced creature comforts, an upgraded driver-assistance system (borrowed from the S-Class sedan), and also new mechanics. The AMG and Maybach variants should add the much-needed glitz and glamor.
3. EQC Market Launch
Next year, Mercedes will finally start the production of its all-electric EQC SUV, the company’s first direct rival for Tesla.
The crossover’s range and charging speed for the American market are yet to be confirmed. But we do know what we’ll get in terms of the performance: a 402 horsepower powertrain with a 0-60 miles per hour time of 4.9 seconds and a top-speed of 112 mph. Not bad, if you ask me.
4. GLC-Class Facelift Reveal
The GLC-Class is due for a facelift next year, possibly at the Geneva Auto Show. It is crucial that this updated model is well-received by the automotive community, because the GLC SUV is one of Mercedes’ best-selling vehicles, but is playing in a very, very competitive segment. Therefore, a mess-up, however unlikely, could turn out to be extremely costly for Mercedes, both literally and figuratively.
5. MBUX Reception
Mercedes launched its much-publicized “MBUX” infotainment system in the A-Class hatchback earlier this year. But frankly speaking, we are yet to truly know where the system stands in comparison to the offerings of its rivals such as BMW, Tesla, Audi and General Motors. Hopefully that will change in 2019.
In case you’re wondering, we’re so eager to know this because, software is the future of the car world and the customer response to the MBUX system could tell us quite a lot about how competitive the programmers at Stuttgart are.
6. Australian Grand Prix
The 2019 Formula One season will kick-off with the Australian Grand Prix in mid-March and even though the Melbourne circuit is more of a street track rather than a road course, Mercedes’ performance during the opening weekend should still give us a fair bit of idea how Lewis Hamilton and Co weigh up to Ferrari and Red Bull.
A win or a pole would imply that Mercedes still has the best package on the grid and accordingly we could look forward to another stellar year for the team with a possible sixth world title for Hamilton.
7. Self-driving Pilot Program with Bosch
In the second-half of 2019, Mercedes-Benz and Bosch will launch a self-driving pilot-program in Silicon Valley, the mecca of the tech industry.
The mainstream adoption of autonomous vehicles is still several years, if not decades, away, but this pilot could help Daimler reassure some of the skeptical investors about its commitment toward future technologies.
8. New Chief Executive
Dieter Zetsche will step down from his role as the Daimler CEO in May next year, to be succeeded by Mercedes’ research and development boss, Ola Källenius.
We are very bullish on Mr Källenius, because he is keen on growing Mercedes into the most technologically-advanced carmaker in the world, with a greater emphasis on the software elements of the vehicles and also, less bureaucracy within the corporation. As a M-B well-wisher, you cannot really ask for anything more.