MUNICH, Germany -- Mercedes-Benz is putting its premium sport wagon platform to work as a base for three vehicles designed for different lifestyles.
The GL class, which will make its debut at the Detroit auto show in January, will be the third vehicle Mercedes has derived from the premium platform. The others include the M class, aimed at SUVs such as the BMW X5, Lexus RX and Volkswagen Touareg; and the R class, a crossover that blends minivan space with the comfort of a premium sedan.
The GL will be larger than the M class and aimed at full-sized U.S.-built SUVs.
"We are targeting customers who would also be looking at a Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade," said Uwe Ernstberger, director of development for M-, R- and G-class models. The R-class sport wagon goes on sale in the United States on Oct. 3.
Catherine Madden, production analyst for Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., said about 60 percent of G-class production at Mercedes' factory in Vance, Ala., will stay in the United States.