As a tyke growing up in South Bend, Indiana, my father and I would often stake out the lots behind the Studebaker factories with hopes of spotting the next generation Avanti or Lark. Too often all we spied were rows of Mercedes-Benz automobiles due to the fact that Studebaker was the U.S. distributor for the German brand up until shortly before the closure of their South Bend operations in 1963.
Yesterday it was announced that Mercedes-Benz was returning to South Bend to build the R-Class crossover at the AM General plant, producer of the military Humvee and the late GM Hummer. Mercedes-Benz once moved their headquarters from South Bend to New Jersey and soon to the South (Atlanta) and now R-Class production is moving from the South (Alabama) to South Bend. Got it? (Read More…)
I felt like a spy within my own company. It was a hot summer day in 2003 and I was at the DaimlerChrysler proving grounds in Laredo, Texas to attend a focus group on the upcoming 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class minivan/crossover/sport touring wagon. My dozen or so fellow attendees were all wealthy owners of high-end Mercedes-Benz cars. I was here because the Mercedes-Benz USA focus group invite filter did not recognize my net worth nor the fact that I worked for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. And I was not about to tell anyone that…
Anyone looking for an AMG R63, the rarest modern Mercedes-Benz product of all time, look no further. There’s one for sale outside of Toronto for the low price of just $33,995. Plus you get to have dinner with me if you buy it (not really, but you should give me a call if you decide to take possession of it). You can view the ad here. Paging Mr. DeMuro…
Mercedes has released official images of its hinted-at R-Class facelift, which brings the unloved crossover’s looks closer to the brand’s better-selling SUVs. But will it improve the model’s moribund sales? Probably not. Status-seeking family-haulers in the US will keep buying GLs, and sniggering softly when they drive past folks in their Pacifica-like Rs. Sometimes it’s a good day to die, and sometimes it’s a good day to get a facelift. For the Mercedes R-Class, today is the former kind of day.
Mercedes sold only 2,825 R Class “Grand Sport Tourer” models in the US last year, confirming once and for all that the eigenwillig CUV is a bonafide flop in this country. So much so that a GL-inspired restyling is already under development, possibly with a GL-inspired name as well: GLR.