Mercedes-Benz has shown a pre-production version of the upcoming GLB at an annual national dealer meeting.
Dealers believe the baby G-Class model to arrive showrooms by the fourth quarter of 2019, which means the GLB will be offered as a 2020 model. The compact crossover is likely to be built in Mexico at a new Daimler-Nissan joint venture plant, along with the new-to-America A-Class sedan. The dealers also said the GLB will come standard as a five-seater, but will offer an optional seven-seat configuration.
Greg Barnes, president of Bill Ussery Motors in Coral Gables, Florida, told Automotive News the GLB reminded him a little of the boxiness of the GLK. “It’s functional, small SUV, more of a people mover, whereas the GLA is sportier,” he said.
The GLB won’t be the only crossover Mercedes is introducing next year. Refreshed versions of the GLE and GLS are also expected, as the company focuses more on its crossover and SUV lineup. Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler admitted that C-Class sales are coming down, while GLC sales are going up. As a result, Mercedes is working to optimize its product portfolio for the U.S. market, as it continues to shift towards crossovers and SUVs.
Still, Exler is optimistic that the A-Class sedan will do well in the U.S., pointing to the success of the CLA. He believes the new A-Class sedan will be at least as good, if not better, than the CLA in terms of sales.
[Source: Automotive News]
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