If they did a sporty, light and small hardtop perhaps they'd fare better.
Like a 170.
The cheapest SLC here now is about $72k AUD, compared with the cheapest R170 was $84k AUD 20 years ago, when a dollar was worth a lot more, and comparing to wages, it’s now close to half the expense it was, yet this is not enough to hold sales to anything like what it was back then.
To me it seems intuititive that a simpler, lighter, lower spec SLC would gather more sales but at what price point? Would reducing by 25% to $50k AUD, be tempting enough, or would a Mercedes convertible that cost only 20% more than a MX-5 be perceived as neither prestigious nor quality?
The SLC has slowly fallen into the same trap as most luxury niche cars in adding more luxury, more options, more engines to keep trying to tailor to a wider range of preferences and tastes in an effort to keep sales high enough for a viable business case and volumes that can make it profitable.
And it competes against ever more in house Mercedes convertibles.
Here’s my formula for a next SLC R173.
Rebadge it back to SLK
Drop price 10% for cheapest model.
Keep folding hardtop roof.
Unique styling, not looking like every other Mercedes.
Aim for 100kg weight reduction, benchmark against Boxster 718. This will really limit adding heavy features, every little feature adds 1,2,5 kilos and they all add up. Tough decisions needed to keep it light.
Size of body must not increase.
a) basic petrol 4 cylinder turbo basic spec, similar to best MX-5 features only,with 2 or 3 option “packs” only.
Handling pack, cold climate pack, infotainment pack. Keep it simple, keep it sporty.
B) AMG, new 6 cylinder twin turbo, high performance for a fraction of the AMG GT pricing.
Lower spec than today in standard form, to keep weight down, but with “Designo” pack to bring it to equivalant of optioned SLC43 if desired. This makes std AMG look more hard edged and serious.
Marketing as part of the family of Mercedes two seat convertibles,,,,,, us the AMG GT cache.