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The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a funky, but rugged luxury SUV from the German automaker, and it appears that it’ll be in production until at least the year 2020.
Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler has come to an agreement with Magna Steyr to extend the production of its G-Wagen in Graz, Austria and was able to get more favorable conditions along with a better price from Magna. Daimler went so far as to threaten Magna that the company would move production of the G-Class to Hungary but it appears that Magna conceded to Daimler’s wants and production will continue in Austria.
The G-Class was originally designed to be a rugged off-roader and a light military vehicle for the German Army. The plant in Graz began production of the SUV back in 1979 and is currently the longest produced Mercedes-Benz in Daimler’s history. Last year, 7,200 G-Class vehicles were made, and this year the number is set to 8,500. Mercedes hopes to hit an annual production of 10,000 for their G-Wagen.
A while back we revealed that Infiniti‘s working on a new entry-level, FWD compact that would be based on Mercedes-Benz‘s A-Class platform. We now have news that Canadian-Austrian auto supplier Magna Steyr will be in charge of developing the entry-level model for Infiniti.
The final contract is expected to be agreed upon soon, allowing Magna to begin production at their factory in Graz, Austria starting in 2012. As we reported earlier, the new compact will be based on Mercedes-Benz’s MFA architecture which is seen in their A- and B-Class vehicles. Daimler will also be supplying preassembled complete parts to Infiniti.
According to sources, Infiniti’s new compact will be powered by Mercedes’s four- and six-cylinder powerplants, with diesel variants for the European market. The plan is to produce around 50,000 to 60,000 units a year in Graz, exporting them globally to compete against BMW‘s 1-Series and Audi‘s popular A3.
As mentioned earlier, Infiniti’s new FWD compact will be based on the Etherea Concept we saw at the Geneva Motor Show.
GALLERY: Infiniti Etherea Concept
[Source: Automotive News]
Prestige automaker Aston Martin has confirmed that it will be moving production of it’s four-door super sedan, the Rapide from the Magna Steyr facilities in Graz, Austria, to Gaydon, Warwickshire, in the United Kingdom.
The move comes as facility restrictions at Gaydon, in place when Rapide production originally began have now been lifted.
According to AM’s CEO Dr. Ulrich Betz, “ things are very different (from 2008) – Gaydon is more established, more flexible and more efficient. While our overall volume has not changed significantly, we now produce a far richer model mix – eight model lines (plus five variants) compared to three model lines (plus two variants) in 2008 – so Rapide production is now possible.”
Betz went on to thank Magna Steyr and its employees for developing a very strong working relationship with Aston Martin, while helping the firm set “benchmark quality” standards for Rapide production.
Production of AM’s four-door is scheduled to begin at the Gaydon facility in the second half of next year.
Next MINI vehicle likely not due out until Geneva Auto Show in March
Originally expected to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it appears as though those waiting to get their hands on MINI’s new Countryman crossover will have to wait a little longer… again. After the Frankfurt delay it was expected the CUV would appear at the next major auto show: Detroit. Now word comes that instead of being unveiled on U.S. soil in January, the Countryman won’t appear until the Geneva Auto Show in March.
The reason for the holdup has to do with MINI’s parent company. BMW has contracted Magna Steyr to build the Countryman in Austria, but that plant is currently the location where the BMW X3 is built. As an incredibly profitable vehicle for BMW (and apparently still a reasonably high volume seller) BMW is loathe to hault production before it starts building the new X3 in the U.S.
So in order to squeeze ever last cent out of the original X3, BMW is delaying the Countryman.
Word of this development comes from the MINI-freaks at MotoringFile, who have also learned that the Countryman will come with a banded AWD line, much like BMW’s xDrive, which will be called All4.
MINI’s upcoming crossover has been rumored for quite some time and now thanks to the folks at Carscoop we have these spy photos off the small SUV out testing. Maybe we’re Doubting Thomases for not having fully believed MINI would build such a vehicle, or maybe we just didn’t want to believe it. Still, if anyone can make a crossover handle well and be fun to drive, it’s the folks at MINI.
Unofficially dubbed the Crossman, the MINI crossover is larger than the Clubman and if the concept vehicle first shown at the Paris Auto Show is any clue, it will measure 159.5-inches in length, be 72-inches wide and 62.9-inches high. Comparatively, a standard MINI Cooper measures 143.9- x 66.5- x 56.2-inches.
CarScoop is reporting that the Crossman’s architecture is loosely based on that of the upcoming BMW X1 – which has been reported to be 3-Series chassis. This would allow the crossover to have all-wheel drive – likely a version of BMW xDrive.
The Crossman will be manufactured outside the U.K. in Magna Steyr’s Austria facility and is expected to arrive in 2010 as a 2011 model.
GALLERY: 2011 MINI Crossover