When automakers compete, the consumer is the winner. Case in point: Mercedes-Benz’s bout with BMW, Audi, and Lexus.
Daimler’s largest brand is currently third worldwide in sales at 531,382, following Audi (600,200 units sold), and champion BMW (607,207). In the important American market, though, Mercedes is top dog, having sold over 106,000 vehicles so far this year, putting it just ahead BMW as the number one luxury automaker in the U.S.
Mercedes has been heavily refreshing its lineup to keep the lead starting with cars like the 2012 C-Class, which also received a coupe version for the first time. The German automaker is now turning its sights on crossovers and SUVs like the popular mid-sized M-Class and entry-level GLK-Class, which Automotive.com recently drove in the verdant hills of Virginia:
“We hate to use superlatives, but we found the materials used in the GLK-Class to be top-notch and worthy of a luxury vehicle. Even the so-called “MB-Tex” faux leather felt premium, though we can see most potential buyers opting for the real deal (and paying the extra $2,100 price tag). Soft plastics on the upper dash, aluminum and wood inserts, and even the chrome inner door handles and lockable glove compartment box all looked and felt substantial. Same with materials used on the GLK-Class’ chrome-rimmed climate controls, audio system, and control knob for mbrace2, Mercedes’ updated infotainment system.”
Both the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the GLK-Class are critical to Mercedes’ race for numero uno luxury auto maker in the U.S., since they directly compete against rival BMW’s popular 3 Series and X3 crossover SUV. According to auto tech info supplier Autodata, Mercedes sold slightly over 24,000 of its GLK-Class vehicles last year, just behind the BMW X3 which sold 27,793 units in the same period. States analyst Rebecca Lindland of HIS Automotive, “Mercedes has upped its game.”
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class goes on sale later this year in August. The larger, seven-passenger 2013 GL-Class follows shortly, arriving at dealerships in September.