The boss of Mercedes-AMG has defended suggestions that the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz is heading the wrong way by first replacing its SLR hypercar with the cheaper SLS and now the cheaper-again GT, with no replacements for the higher models planned.
Instead, AMG head Tobias Moers argues that to be a true player in the sports car market you need to prove yourself in volume segments, revealing that there will be other versions of the just-released Mercedes-AMG GT beyond the standard car and GT S.
“In our vision and our strategic position, it’s very clear SLS was our entrance into the super-sports car segment,” began Moers.
“When it comes to build the brand … you have to prove you are capable of having the expertise to do a real sports car. It was very close to us in that strategic discussion. You have to step into the traditional sports car segment because that gets you the awareness, everybody gets the knowledge about it. This was the decision to get the GT in that segment.
“We want to have a car in the traditional sports car segment that’s more approachable.”
To the suggestion that a sports car brand such as AMG needs to do more than one car to be credible, Moers replyed “yeah, maybe”. But the Mercedes-AMG GT will continue to evolve, with confirmation there will be an even higher-performance version than the GT S that claims 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds thanks to its 650Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8.
“For sure there is more to come [with GT],” tells Moers.
“If you step in the lower end of the sports car segment, there is room. There is more to come out of the GT portfolio. We have GT, GT S … GT ‘X’ whatever.”
But there will be little chance of a return to the stratospheric world of hypercars for Mercedes-AMG to follow the SLR of the early 2000s, despite the boss knowing that Porsche (with the 918 Spyder), Ferrari (La Ferrari) and McLaren (650 S) all compete in that segment.
“We don’t do that,” Moers says of the chance of an SLR hypercar successor.
“SLR in that time competes with hypercars, everybody brought a car up in that time, there’s the Enzo Ferrari, the McLaren. We have the same situation in 2013, Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren all brought a hypercar.
“It’s not helpful to have a hundred hypercars done in a year and nobody sees them on the road. It’s very important to see your brand on the road.”
Therefore, he argues, “the next step, for us was very logical.
“It was the right direction for us to step down, not the wrong one.”