Mercedes PR Stunt Backfires: G-Wagen Convoy Stranded In The Outback

Mercedes PR Stunt Backfires: G-Wagen Convoy Stranded In The Outback

And not the steakhouse either, where suburban G-Wagens are usually sighted. No, Mercedes-Benz is launching a rescue mission deep into the heart of Australia’s outback, where six of its off-roaders have been stranded.

Five standard G-Class models and one “military-spec” example are stuck somewhere along the Canning Stock Route, where they blew their shock absorbers while crossing some rough terrain. Fourteen people have been stranded and are now waiting for Mercedes-Benz to fly in replacement parts to a remote airfield near their base camp.

Luckily for the team, they have ample provisions and are in little immediate danger (as long as they watch over their babies for dingoes). But the 14-day crossing of the Outback still has 800 kilometers to go, across the aptly-named Great Sandy Desert.

“When we undertook this journey we were well aware of the punishment that the vehicles would endure,” said Horst von Sanden, a managing director of Mercedes-Benz Australia. “We put in place a group of very experienced Outback operators who have the expertise and logistical knowledge to cover off any eventuality. “I have complete faith in the team out on the Canning and the thorough logistics and preparation the team have put in place.”

The military G-Class is the only vehicle to not break, rather unsurprisingly: it is similar to ones used by the Australian Defence Force, and in civilian markets is known as the GProfessional. It will meet the rescue flight at the airport and deliver parts to the stranded team.

This is Benz’s attempt to complete the first crossing of the Outback by car, 1,900 kilometers total across the desert: if there ever was a car to have faith in for completing dangerous off-road expeditions, it is the mighty G-Class. Now that the even mightier Outback has claimed another victim, though, we’re not so sure.

[Source: The Land]

  • jay

    It doesn’t say in the article, but my guess is that it’s the adjustable height shocks that failed (the fact that all but the military version failed indicates it’s not a simple defective part). My brother had terrible problems with adjustable height suspension on his Nissan Armada.

    Unfortunately car companies are adding more and more unnecessary complexity to vehicles and are introducing more paths of failure.

  • Don

    That is a fairly easy 4WD trip these days (you can even get fuel midway from a bowser!) so quite surprising outcome. Jay’s last sentence sums it up.

  • Jimbojones

    Every Australian knows there is only one brand of 4WD that has a proven track record in the Australian outback. That is why the Landcruiser is marketed here as “King Off The Road”.

    Modern technology SUV’s are not really engineered for off road conditions. They are too smart for themselves and should come with a warning label to advise against going off sealed roads. Self leveling air suspension has no place in the Australian outback – neither do ignorant Germans.

  • Mad Max

    750+ cars have made the trip this year. M-B are claiming a successful traverse, but having to fly parts in means that they failed. I bet M-B would not fly shocks out to me at their expense if my Gee wagon broke like theirs did. In fact they would void my warranty for vehicle abuse

  • Alex Suslin

    Did the Canning 4 years ago in a much-maligned ’96 Disco Tdi with almost 300,000kms on the clock without any worries. Couple we met in a new Landcruiser had suspension problems. I take my Akubra off to the late Len Beadell, who battled through thousands of miles (he wouldn’t have liked ‘kilometers’) of uncharted scrub & dunes in the 50s & 60s in Land Rovers without any of the most basic “extras” we take for granted – like air con.
    For serious 4wd-ing, the simpler & more robust (& driver-repairable if it does break), the better.

  • Lance Ong

    Jay, there is no height adjustments on the shocks of G wagon. We are not talking about Range Rover or The GL or even the ML class. It is the G wagon. The only button you have is 4 low or 4 high in the center console & 3 buttons for the differencials. That’s it. The vehicle is just too heavy for this. You tube it under Canning Stock, you will see how much they pack on these vehicles. They have all kinds of stuff on top of the roof.