DaimlerChrysler to Introduce Mercedes G-Class in U.S.
DaimlerChrysler AG plans to introduce the Mercedes-Benz G-Class off-road vehicle in the United States this fall, partially as a result of the success of the M-Class sport-utility vehicle.The G-Class is made by Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG in Austria under license for Mercedes-Benz. The company has made 150,000 of the vehicles in 22 years of production and will build about 6,000 this year. A fully equipped G-Class will have a suggested retail price of $72,500 in the U.S., according to Mercedes-Benz.The G-Class was around before the SUV boom of the last 10 years. Originally designed as an off-road competitor to the Range Rover, the company moved the vehicle up-market beginning in 1990 with the introduction of a luxury model.Since its introduction, the G-Class "has developed into a cult car," said Helmut Petri, head of production of Mercedes-Benz cars.The company has sold both the M-class and G-class in Europe. The M-class is built both in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and under license in Graz, Austria. The M-Class has a suggested retail price of $36,445 in the U.S. Mercedes-Benz says it's sold 319,000 of the M-Class since its introduction in 1997.