3 Mercedes-Benz Models Holding Back the Brand in 2023
Mercedes-Benz sales are hardly sluggish. The German automaker sold over 254,000 luxury cars stateside in the first nine months of 2023. However, three Mercedes models aren’t moving as well this year as they did last year. Surprisingly, they’re all popular SUVs.
Mercedes-Benz GLC sales are down nearly 50% in 2023
The Mercedes-Benz GLC compact SUV has been refreshed for the 2023 model year, but it’s severely behind its predecessor in sales so far. According to GoodCarBadCar, Mercedes sold 29,403 GLCs through September, a 47% decrease in annual sales over this time last year. Monthly sales were down 40% for September year-over-year.
Though the GLC’s sales so far this year could be cause for concern, it’s unlikely the SUV’s slide is only attributable to decreased demand or customers defecting to another brand.
The 2023 GLC didn’t hit dealerships until this past spring, and supply and availability issues could be plaguing the updated compact SUV’s rollout. Speculation could also reason a few GLC buyers have made the electric switch to the EQB subcompact EV SUV or the larger EQE.
It’s worth noting the 2023 GLC’s MSRP has grown to $47,100, a significant increase over the $43,850 the base 2022 model commanded.
However, buyers get a long list of updates in the 2023 model. The GLC 300 retains the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and nine-speed automatic of its predecessor, but now that powerplant pairs with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. Additional updates include the latest MBUX infotainment system, a vertically oriented touchscreen, a revised steering wheel, and refreshed styling.
Mercedes-Benz GLB sales are also falling
The Mercedes GLB is also experiencing a disappointing year, with annual sales dropping 25%, a little more than 4,000 units, through the first nine months of 2023. Monthly sales were down 11.5% in September.
A factor that could be holding back recent sales of the GLB is Mercedes refreshing this crossover for the 2024 model year. Like its GLC stablemate, the 2024 GLB will sport a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, revamped styling, and an updated interior with the latest MBUX system. Additionally, it receives AMG interior appointments and added standard features, like a 10.3-inch touchscreen and heated steering wheel.
The 2024 model will mark the first significant refresh of the GLB since it was introduced as a 2020 model, so some buyers might be holding out for the reworked model.
GLS sales are also down, though not as significantly
The GLS is Mercedes’ flagship gas-powered SUV. The three-row midsize crossover isn’t struggling as much as its GLB and GLC stablemates this year, but annual sales are down 12.75% through Q3 despite a slight increase in year-over-year sales for September.
The next few months will likely give a better idea of the GLS’s overall sales as the refreshed 2024 model continues to arrive at dealerships.
The 2024 GLS’s standard six-cylinder engine has been given a 13-hp bump to 375 ponies. And the more potent GLS 580, equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, now delivers 510 hp, up from 483 hp.
Other changes include a revised front bumper and taillight design, new interior schemes, a revamped steering wheel, and an off-road package with a tuned air suspension and underbody protection.
But other Mercedes models are selling well
Though some Mercedes SUV sales are slipping, other models are picking up the slack. C-Class sedan numbers are up 33.45%, GLA subcompact SUV sales are up 38%, and the CLA is up nearly 48%.
Mercedes’ all-electric models are also seeing gains. The EQE sedan and EQE SUV have sold over 9,000 units since their debut. EQS sedan sales have increased 40% year-over-year, and the EQB rollout has netted nearly 6,500 sales so far. Also, despite its hefty price tag, the EQS SUV has sold almost 7,000 units through September 2023, which could be cutting into GLS sales.