Seriously, I think Benz is gonna lose their identity in the Longrun. Why r they doing this???k1w1 - 3/24/2005 2:58 AM
What were they thinking? I feel violated just looking at it!
The Pacifica is a completely different vehicle, much smaller, shorter, and cheaper. There are absolutely no shared components or platforms whatsoever. Remember, the R-Class rides on an all-new platform, an extended version of the new W164 M-Class platform.
I think it looks good, BUT it has to have the correct looking wheel/tire combination in order for it to stand out.Wolfgang - 3/23/2005 2:56 PM
The Magnum is much lower, riding like a car (because it is a car) and has much higher shoulder lines. The R-Class, on the other hand, is a hybrid SUV/wagon combination, affording increased driving height for a more commanding view of the road over a regular car. This arrangement, with the lower centre of gravity, allows for a sportier driving experience than a traditional SUV.e320mule - 3/23/2005 4:54 PM
It's not the Pacifica...it's that other Dodge/Chrysler abomination....Magnum? Same chassis. I can't believe they did this. Oh well, as new MB designs go, at least the CLS RULES!
Source: Mobile Register, al.com<B> N.Y. Auto Show: New Bama Benz unveiled</B>
R-Class receives favorable reception with surprise price under $50,000
Thursday, March 24, 2005
By GEORGE TALBOT
NEW YORK -- Alabama's newest contribution to the automaking industry made a show-stopping entrance here Wednesday when Mercedes-Benz held the world debut for its R-Class luxury vehicle.
The R-Class, a cross between a sport utility vehicle, a station wagon and a perform ance sedan, will be manufactured at Mercedes' plant in Vance, Ala., beginning later this year. Mercedes announced that the R-Class will be priced under $50,000 when it hits showrooms this fall, surprising industry officials who expected prices in the $60,000 range.
"We're going to sell the heck out of them at that price. It's a lot of car for the money," said Tom Knobloch Sr., the sales manager at a Mercedes dealership in Princeton, N.J.
The German automaker unveiled the 2006 model R-Class during press previews for the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the public on Friday. The R-Class made a dramatic entrance before a standing-room-only audience of about 500 media and auto industry officials, appearing in silhouette behind a silk screen while club music thumped and a team of dancers whirled onto the stage.
The screen was lifted to reveal sleek silver and black versions of a vehicle that Mercedes claims is unlike any other produced anywhere in the world.
The so-called "Grand Sports Tourer" opens up a new and highly promising market segment, said Thomas Weber, a member of the board of management for the Stuttgart, Germany-based DaimlerChrysler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.
The R-Class, roughly as long and as wide as a full-size sport utility vehicle but built on a uni-body frame that more resembles a luxury car, is designed to carry six adults in three rows of seating.
The vehicle joins the M-Class SUV in production at the plant in Vance. That plant, which is nearing completion of a $600 million expansion, employs 3,800 workers but is hiring another 200 as part of the expansion. It cranked out its first M-Class in 1997, helping to create the luxury SUV category. A next-generation version of M-Class began rolling off the assembly line in December.
The plant will produce two versions of the R-Class for the American market: a V6-powered ML350 and a V8-powered ML500. A short-wheelbase version will be produced for European markets, but Mercedes said it expects about 60 percent of R-Class sales will be made in the United States.
"The new R-Class is inspired by and built in America, and is therefore very much at home in the U.S. market," Weber said. "The attractive price of less than $50,000 should boost demand even further."
The launch comes at a critical time for one of the world's oldest and largest car makers. Though Mercedes posted its highest annual U.S. sales volume in 2004, its fourth-quarter profits fell to $27 million from $1 billion the year before. Last week, DaimlerChrysler announced plans to replace the head of sales and marketing at its Mercedes division.
Standing before banks of television news cameras and media representing news organizations worldwide, Weber emphasized the importance of Alabama workers in making the R-Class a sales success.
"The debut of the new R-Class is also a positive signal for the state of Alabama. Just like the new M-Class, the R-Class will be assembled on a new, state-of-the-art production line in (Vance)," Weber said. "Does it need more proof of our commitment to Alabama? I think not."
Industry analysts said the R-Class made an impressive debut, kicking off a day-long series of news conferences held by automakers on the circus-like trade floor of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.
"It's an impressive vehicle from one of the most innovative, progressive companies in the business," said Kevin Clemens, a columnist for European Car magazine. "I have no doubt it's going to be a success, and in a couple of years we'll be seeing imitators pop up just like we did with the M-Class."
A contingent of about 30 Alabama business leaders, including representatives from BellSouth Corp., AmSouth Bancorp., Regions Financial Corp., Alabama Industrial Development Training and the Retirement Systems of Alabama, among others, traveled to the auto show to support Mercedes.
"They've been a great marketing partner for the state of Alabama, and it's exciting to share a piece of the spotlight with them on such a high-profile occasion," said Neal Wade, director of the Alabama Development Office.
The auto show continues today with news conferences from a variety of automakers including Hyundai Motor Co., which is scheduled to begin full production of Sonata sedans at its $1 billion new Alabama plant near Montgomery next month.