Last month, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new GLC-Class – the GLK-Class-replacing compact crossover that shares the same platform with the C-Class. This means that the German automaker’s portfolio of crossovers/SUVs now includes the GLA-Class, GLE-Class, GLE Coupe, soon-to-be renamed GL-Class (GLS-Class), the G-Class and the GLC-Class.
Moreover, the company will also launch a coupe variant of the GLC-Class some time next year, with the concept having been unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show in April. Not to forget, it also has daunting plans for a convertible SUV.
While SUVs were not even considered by luxury car brands till the late 20th century, the demand for such vehicles is growing at an exponential rate. And according to Thomas Weber, a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, this boom may ‘never end’.
He stated: “The biggest trend around the globe is to SUVs. Why? Higher seating position, more freedom, independence also from tough road conditions, even though no customer would drive such an off-road route but nevertheless, if there’s only one weekend, or during winter time there is snow… for this reason there’s huge trend to AWD.”
Weber was talking to the Australian media at the launch of the GLC-Class. Although the off-road capabilities of luxury crossovers, which the companies like to brand as SUVs, have often come under scrutiny in the past, Weber claims that Mercedes has worked extensively to ensure that the GLC-Class performs well on harsh terrains.
“Only a small percentage of [performance car buyers] ever go to 250km/h, but the ability is what they buy,” he stated.
“If a car is designed for extreme situations, it’s clear it carries a lot reserve for critical situations… if we can demonstrate the car is able to go on these tough roads it’s clear there’s potential for long life — 300,000km — [which is] good for image.”
Finally, when asked about Mercedes’ future plans for another new SUV, Weber commented: “GLA is really successful even if it’s a more coupe-oriented SUV… if there’s room for more in this segment, why not in next generation (not in this lifecycle).”
He further added: “We could do more [car based on the next version of the MFA architecture used on the GLA, and four other compact cars such as the A-Class]. Seven, eight, why not? It’s more capacity and how fast can we rollout, and doing more than five in first lifecycle is nearly impossible.”
Mercedes GLC-Class – Image Gallery