Mercedes will build the next G class in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz will build a fourth model at its Vance, Ala., plant starting 2006.

"We will be manufacturing a fourth model here from next year onwards," said Eckhard Cordes, head of the Mercedes Car Group.

Company executives say that the model is the successor to the G class and will be called the GL. Its project name is X164.

The other three models built at the plant are the M class SUV and the long and short variants of the new R-class sport wagon.

Mercedes sold about 6,400 units of the 26-year-old G class in 2004. The classic SUV will continue to be built at Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, until at least until 2007 because "we still have a few army orders to deal with," said Cordes.

The G-class successor, which like the R class is based on the M-class design, will be longer than the S class sedan with a length of 204 inches and have a third row of seats.

The new G class will debut at the Detroit auto show next January and its market launch will be mid 2006. The basic price will be around 56,000 euros, or about $72,000 at current exchange rates.

Mercedes doubled the capacity at the plant to 160,000 units for the launch of the R class. The number of employees will be increased from 2,000 to 4,000 by the end of this year.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.