Mercedes-Benz is considering not only offering the EQE, which will be released in 2022, as a sedan and SUV in China, but also launching a hybrid of these two body styles there. The EQE SUS (Sports Utility Sedan) could be sold from 2024.
This is reported by the Handelsblatt with reference to company circles. Internally, the hybrid would be called SUS (Sports Utility Sedan). The EQE SUS would initially be built exclusively in Beijing for the Chinese market. However, the considerations are still at an early stage and may be discarded. Daimler did not want to comment on the plans when asked by the Handelsblatt.
Like the sedan presented at the IAA, the EQE SUS would also be based on the purely electric EVA platform and would probably also take over the drives from the EQE – at least the all-wheel-drive. Due to the modified body concept, the SUS would be higher and beefier according to the report – and would offer more space than a sedan. At the same time, the vehicle would be less bulky than an SUV. It is unclear how the SUS would differ from SUV coupés, such as those offered by Mercedes in the GLC and GLE combustion engine series.
According to the Handelsblatt, there are two strategic considerations behind the EQE SUS: On the one hand, the new body variant could be an attempt to “counter the globally declining business with conventional sedans with something new”. On the other hand, an exclusive China model would enhance the local joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive (BBAC) together with BAIC. Daimler is apparently trying to take over a majority stake in BBAC, just as BMW did with BMW-Brilliance. According to the report, building a completely new class of car should “help with the mission”.
If Mercedes-Benz were to hold more than half of the shares in BBAC, BBAC could be fully consolidated in its own group results in Stuttgart. Sales and profits would then not only be added to the financial result (where the previous shareholding is included), but to the sales and operating result of the passenger car division.
Mercedes sees the EQE SUS as a test balloon in two respects. On the one hand, it would be a first for Mercedes to develop an entirely separate model series for China – up to now, only existing models have been adapted, for example with long versions. Secondly, if the concept of a sports utility sedan is successful in China, it could not only be exported to other markets, but also transferred to other model series. The Handelsblatt, citing company circles, explicitly mentions the compact class.