Mercedes-Benz is launching a dual attack on the sport wagon market. The automaker is aiming downward with its small B class and upward with its large R class.
Vehicles in both classes were at the show in concept form, called the Compact Sports Tourer Vision B and the Grand Sports Tourer Vision R.
Jürgen Hubbert, head of the Mercedes Car Group, said the Vision B is ideal for Europe because of its roominess and versatility.
It also is headed to the United States, where management did not want the smaller A class on which the Vision B is based.
The five-seat B-class wagon is likely to attract young families and urban buyers. Mercedes-Benz expects to sell about 20,000 to 30,000 B-class cars in a full year of production.
Mercedes-Benz expects to sell up to 30,000 B-class units annually.
Joachim Schmidt, the Mercedes-Benz board member for marketing, said the automaker plans to launch the production version in Europe in mid-2005. The US will get the car in the last quarter of 2005.
Mercedes-Benz will build the short-wheelbase R-class wagon for Europe at its plant in Vance, Alabama, USA. That factory also will produce the longer-wheelbase car for the US market that debuted as a concept at January's Detroit auto show.
Schmidt said annual production of the R class is expected to be about 50,000. Half of those vehicles are likely to be sold in the US.