MUNICH -- Mercedes-Benz will respond to growing demand for SUVs by expanding its lineup with more models, most likely in the fast-growing compact segment.
SUVs paced an almost 10 percent jump in total sales last year, expanding the brand’s lead over BMW. High demand for the compact GLA and GLC crossovers made Mercedes the world's biggest luxury automaker for a second consecutive year.
Mercedes' compact lineup, which also includes the A- and B-class models and the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, sold 620,000 vehicles last year, accounting for more than a quarter of all Mercedes brand volume for 2017.
"We see strong demand across our SUV range," Britta Seeger, who heads Mercedes sales and marketing, said in an interview at the Detroit auto show. "We have more ideas to add new products to our portfolio, though maybe not so much at the upper end of the SUV range for now."
Daimler delivered on a goal to unseat BMW from its decade-long luxury sales leadership four years early, in 2016. The brand built momentum after refreshes of staid designs and additions to its offering of crossovers. With the revamped A class being unveiled next month, the overhaul of the company's lineup will have come full circle.
"Globally, we're very confident we'll see a strong year during 2018," Seeger said. "We're optimistic for a strong year in Europe on the back of the revamped A class and a stable development on sales in the U.S."