The Mercedes-Benz R-Class occupies a niche of one in the U.S., the six-passenger crossover pushing the envelope in what constitutes a “crossover” as it blends the characteristics of a minivan, station wagon, and SUV without quite fitting any category. Consumers, at least in the U.S., find the novel vehicle so confusing that the press is expecting Mercedes to cancel production given the R-Class’ slow sales.
China, though, has thrown a monkey wrench in that prediction. Recently, Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche announced it will continue production of the R-Class for the Chinese market at least through 2015. The full-size crossover SUV will be joined that year by an all-new SUV named the Mercedes-Benz MLC. Details are scant on this vehicle except Mercedes is aiming the MLC against rival BMW’s X6. Other Benz crossovers and SUVs tentatively scheduled to make their debut that year include the freshened or revamped Mercedes-Benz G-Class, GL-Class, GLK-Class, and an all-new M-Class. Mercedes also has several coupes, convertibles, and sedans scheduled to debut that year as well.