Mercedes-Benz says it’s heard criticism of the designs of its electric vehicles (EVs), and it’s making some changes.

    The company’s vice president of vehicle development, Christoph Starzynski, told Top Gear he was aware the styling of models like the EQE and EQS has proved polarising to traditional buyers of the brand’s vehicles.

    “We have had that comment, and we are taking this comment seriously,” Mr Starzynski confirmed.

    “Looking at the [design] language in the Concept CLA, and maybe looking a little bit more in the future, I think we can definitely see there’s going to be adoptions to that.”

    He called the Concept CLA, which boasts sharper lines than the EQE and EQS, “basically the first glimpse of what you can expect in the future from Mercedes-Benz”.

    Responding to reports the EQE and EQS have gotten off to a sluggish start, Mr Starzynski says their success has varied based on market.

    “It’s a question of in which region are we talking,” he said.

    “If you talk for example, the US, it’s actually a very positive development. I mean there were early adopters here on the EV side, who were basically going into a different brand because they didn’t have an electric Mercedes in the segment.

    “We contracted a lot of customers back to our brand. This is a very positive sign.”

    His remarks contrast with reports out of the US late last year that EQ-badged models are stacking up at dealers, taking more than twice as long to sell as EVs from rival BMW.

    Mr Starzynski also flagged the company is happy with EQ sales in Europe.

    He said that China is a different story but that slow EQE and EQS sales there have been offset by the strength of the E-Class and S-Class globally, which outsell their competition.

    “There is a different picture in China: basically, the electric mobility, especially in the upper segment – E- and S-Class – is very, very small market share,” he said.

    “You have to be patient. The willingness in China to transform to electric vehicles at this segment is right now not to the desire we wanted to have.”

    It’s a critical market for the brand, as in 2022 over a third of total Mercedes-Benz sales were in China and highly profitable vehicles like the company’s ultra-luxury Maybach models do well there.

    Larger luxury sedans are more of a niche market in Australia, but the EQE has gotten off to a strong start here.

    A total of 437 were sold here in 2023, ahead of the E-Class (421 sales) and behind only the BMW 5 Series (507) and Porsche Taycan (535).

    Likewise, the EQS outsold most of its rivals last year. With 67 sales, it edged out the BMW i7 (63 sales) and was outsold by only the BMW 7 Series (84), Porsche Panamera (70) and Mercedes-Benz’s own S-Class (108).

    The EQE sedan and EQS liftback were joined late last year by the EQE SUV and EQS SUV, which share the same dedicated EV platform.

    Mercedes-Benz Australia sold 252 examples of the former and 60 of the latter.

    MORE: Everything Mercedes-Benz EQEEQE SUVEQSEQS SUV

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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