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Mercedes plans 'on-road' SUV line

The Mercedes Coupe Concept could be part of a new SUV line aimed at customers seeking car-like characteristics.

BEIJING -- Mercedes-Benz is considering separate model lines for its SUVs that have mainly car-like characteristics and those that are aimed at customers who want off-road capability.

The division would happen after Mercedes launches a production version of the Concept Coupe SUV that debuted at the auto show here on April 20. The concept previews a rival to the BMW X6 and it will be built at Mercedes's U.S. plant in Vance, Ala., starting next year.

"The Concept Coupe SUV previews a four-door, coupe-styled model that will appeal to customers who want a sportily designed vehicle with a high seating position, " said Thomas Weber, the brand's r&d chief.

The concept's production model could be part of a new model line of "on-road" SUVs that could also include a coupe-styled version of the GLA compact SUV, he said. Mercedes began selling the GLA in Europe in March and it is due in U.S. showrooms in September.

Neither Weber nor Mercedes would comment on the exact launch date of the production version of the Concept Coupe SUV or on its production name, which media reports have said will be the MLC.

You can reach Paul McVeigh at pmcveigh@crain.com

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