First locally produced Mercedes-Benz GLK rolled off the assembly line in China

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 7, 2011

In early December, Mercedes-Benz achieved one more milestone in China – the rollout of the first locally built Mercedes-Benz GLK compact SUV at the Beijing plant of Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC). Daimler and Chinese Joint Venture partner BAIC have entered a deal last June to expand their cooperation further with numerous projects, one of which is the GLK.

Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, a member of the Daimler Board of Management, Manufacturing and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars & Mercedes-Benz Vans, said that the start of the local GLK output in China illustrates its plan to globally expand the production near to the market. He added that the production side boosts its sales in the regional markets – considered to be a vital factor in the Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy.

Since the Mercedes-Benz GLK debuted in 2008, it has been embraced by customers throughout the world. It has become popular especially in China where a rising number of customers have come to appreciate the compact SUV. In fact, its sales have risen to more than 20,000 units in 2011 so far.

Looking to revolutionise the SUV market with the new GLK-Class, Mercedes-Benz is bringing their unique practicality, appearance and style to compact SUVs. Managing to synergise what is usually seen as a contradiction in traditional SUV attributes, the GLK-Class combines incredible handling due to the Agility Control suspension, exquisite ride comfort and outstanding driver safety. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system provides a sophistication you come to expect from Mercedes-Benz and has an array of electronic controls which give superb on-road and off-road capability. This dazzling combination is precisely why the GLK-Class remains so appealing.

Although traditionally geared towards more of an on-road experience, this particular SUV is perfectly capable of providing an exceptional off-road one.

This in part is provided by the superb four and six-cylinder engines, which are incredibly economical.

Available in a series of versions, the BlueEFFICIENCY range of GLK 220 CDIs comes with a four-cylinder diesel engine which provides 125 kW or 170 hp and remarkably can do 100 km on 6.9 litres of fuel.

The range also comes with a number of other very impressive innovations including the astonishing passive-safety setup. It is extremely quiet for a car of its size and engine and as always with a Mercedes-Benz, it has an interior whose comfort their competitors can only dream of.

Bringing new technology to the GLK series for the first time, Mercedes-Benz has added Intelligent Light Systems (ILS) and the PRE-SAFE safety concept to help it stand above the rest of the market. And when you combine this with their confidence in their products, it is clear Mercedes-Benz is looking to dominate the SUV compact market from here on.

A point backed up by Mercedes-Benz Design Chief, Professor Peter Pfeiffer said that the G-Class is an icon in the SUV market. Although over 30 years have passed since the launch of the G, we continue to see the remarkable achievements that Mercedes-Benz has strived to encapsulate in the GLK. He expects its customers to like the new GLK as much as they did the G-Class and that the company is looking forward to more achievements in the future.

When looking at the new GLK, it is hard not to admire the expressive exterior. Coming in at 4.528 m in length, 1.84 m in width and a height of 1.689 m, the Mercedes-Benz's lines are sculpted to remind us of previous iterations whilst remaining contemporary in the compact SUV market.

And even though the vehicle is more suited to the road, Mercedes-Benz has spared no expense in making sure it comes with slim roof pillars, taut roof lines, a steep windscreen and short overhangs, all of which you would come to expect with its incredible off-road design. These considerations place the GLK with its large, expansive surfaces and slim lines head and shoulders above anything else in the market.

Ulrich Walker, Chairman & CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia, adds: “The GLK has provedto be enormously popular with customers here in China, so it is an ideal addition to our lineup of locally-produced vehicles.” Emphasizing the importance of the Chinese market, Mr. Walker continued: “Nothing represents our long-term commitment to China more tangibly than the production of vehicles in China itself: The localized production of further Mercedes-Benz models is an important element of our growth strategy for the Chinese market. As early as 2015 we expect to locally produce two-thirds of all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars sold in China. The start of production of the GLK is another important milestone towards this goal.”

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