SHANGHAI — Mercedes-Benz is carving out yet another niche in the burgeoning crossover market with a new small people mover — this one styled like a traditional SUV — underscoring the rapid fragmentation of the segment and a practice once common in the car market.
The German luxury automaker introduced the concept GLB — a new MFA2 platform companion to the GLA — on the eve of the Shanghai auto show.
The GLB, referred to as the Baby G-Wagen, has an 111-inch wheelbase and fits up to seven people.
The concept is powered by a four-cylinder engine that delivers 224 hp. The GLB also features all-wheel drive and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
"It's a functional, small SUV, more of a people mover, whereas the GLA is sportier," Greg Barnes, president of Bill Ussery Motors in Coral Gables, Fla., and chairman of Mercedes-Benz's dealer board.
Pricing and launch dates for the GLB have not been disclosed but dealers expect it to hit U.S. showrooms in the fourth quarter.
In the U.S., the GLB will compete with the Lexus NX, Cadillac XT4 and BMW X1. In China, the model will go up against BMW X1 and Audi Q3.