News - Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain to usurp regular wagon
Tough terrain: The regular E-Class Estate is a non-starter for Australia, with Mercedes instead offering the jacked-up All-Terrain.
All-Terrain the only certainty in latest Mercedes E-Class wagon range for Australia
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7 December 2016
MERCEDES-BENZ is on the verge of culling the venerable E-Class Estate wagon
range down to just a single E220d All-Terrain model when the next-generation
S213-series surfaces in about May next year.
With only the recently announced all-wheel-drive crossover confirmed for
Australia, Mercedes is weighing up the pros and cons of continuing to field a
large luxury wagon in what is a declining segment in Australia.
According to Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager public relations,
product and corporate communications David McCarthy, offering the E220d
All-Terrain is more in keeping with shifting consumer tastes, and might double
the existing E-Class Estate sales rate from about 100 units annually.
“The normal E-Class Estate is unlikely to come to Australia at this stage,” he
told GoAuto at the launch of the new model in Austria late last month.
“But we’ve said yes to the E220d All-Terrain only, because I think there is the
potential to sell 200 E-Class wagons per year. Previous E-Class wagon sales
averaged about 100 per annum. I think we could double that. Once people see the
vehicle and look at the value equation, I think they’ll buy it. It is a very
However, Mr McCarthy is wary that the regular wagon would be completely overrun
by the All-Terrain as a result of the crossover’s SUV-esque appeal.
“The (regular low-riding rear-drive wagon) versions would make it difficult to
sustain a business case in Australia, because we believe traditional Estate
buyers would buy the All-Terrain anyway. It is becoming increasingly harder to
sell large wagons at the prices they need to be.
“And that 100 per year is the minimum we need in that price bracket to justify
compliance, training, parts, etcetera. Anything less than that, it becomes
difficult to make a business case.
“It’s why Audi deserted it and kept the A6 Allroad. That’s why I think the
All-Terrain is the best of both worlds.”
While the outgoing E-Class Estate is currently offered in three variants – E200
from $87,855 (plus on-road costs), E250d from $107,855 and E400 from $140,115 –
the new E220d All-Terrain, powered by a 143kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder
turbo-diesel driving all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission,
is expected to cost less than $110,000.
A bigger-engined version with a 190kW/620Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel is under
consideration for Australia, though Mr McCarthy is unsure how the declining
large luxury wagon market would respond to the proposed $140,000 pricetag.
“That would be significantly more expensive than what we’re looking at with the
E220d All-Terrain,” he revealed. “We’re looking at $110,000 or thereabouts,
while with the E350d All-Terrain, it would be about $140K.
“But just as we haven’t ruled out a non-All-Terrain E220d Estate, or an E350d
All-Terrain, we want to launch the E220d All-Terrain first and see how it goes
before we look at other options.”
Mr McCarthy added that there is still consumer support for the regular E-Class
wagon, which has gained a strong following since the original S123 T-series
Estate debuted in Australia in 1980.
“Each model has to have its own business case, but you also have to be mindful
that there is a sizeable number of E-Class Estate owners that want to update,”
“So we have to really think about this because we don’t want to potentially
send our customers to our competition. We are very conscious ultimately of the
consequences of dropping that model.”