Leica today announced a limited-run M-E camera based on the previous M240 model. Only 750 are to be made for the world market and the camera will retail in the UK for £3,500, including tax. The camera is identical to the discontinued M240 but is finished in grey.
The new camera will sell for £2,250 less than the current street price of the M10.
Readers will remember that an M-E edition of the M9 enjoyed success when it was announced around the time of the introduction of the M240. Some potential buyers preferred the CCD sensor of the M9 range and this helped boost sales of the M-E which was a quietly successful model at an attractive price.
Offering a special edition of an old model at a good price is a valid marketing strategy which is used by many companies, including Apple. Currently, Apple has several generations of iPhones available at prices calculated to draw in those customers who prefer the Apple ecosystem but are reluctant to spend over £1,000 on a phone.
There are, however, a couple of mysteries surrounding this latest announcement.
The first is that the M-E comes 2½ years after the introduction of the M10. It would have been logical to run the M-E version of the M240 alongside the M10 from the beginning, following Apple’s successful strategy. Why have they only just thought of this?
The second odd aspect is that the production run of the M-E is limited to 750. This rather smacks of using up old parts rather the new model being part of some grand marketing strategy.
Used M240s are still in relatively plentiful supply and have recently been fetching between £2,100 and £2,300, depending on condition.
In view of the small numbers of the new M-E, it should not have a bearing on the used market for the M240 except, perhaps, to provide a little boost because of the publicity associated with the new model. There is still a fair margin between the used values and the retail price of the M-E — if you can get one, of course.
No one, not Leica dealers and, probably, not even regional Leica distributors, saw this one coming. It is yet another odd marketing ploy after the near 30 per cent discounts offered on current M246
This rollercoaster ride of announcements and discounts is not helping overall confidence in the brand. It definitely leaves dealers and owners wondering what overall marketing strategy is in play here and what further surprises are to come
From Leica’s web site this morning:
“The moment in which you decide to purchase a Leica M changes your view of the world. And making the choice has never been easier: become the proud owner of the new Leica M-E, benefit from its exceptionally favourable retail price, and use this opportunity to join the family of M photographers.
“The new Leica M-E continues the unique tradition of rangefinder photography.