Mercedes-Benz is U.S. luxury car topseller for first half of 2012

Article by Anita Panait, on July 5, 2012

Mercedes-Benz posted a 7.6 percent year-on-year rise in sales in the United States in June 2012, boosted by the rollout of a new sport-utility vehicle and compact coupe. The figure effectively widens Mercedes’ lead over BMW for the race as the number one luxury car maker in the US in terms of sales.

In June 2012, Mercedes sold 22,231 cars and SUVs while BMW sold 21,725 units. Lexus posted an 86 percent year-on-year increase in sales in the US to 20,022, allowing Toyota’s luxury vehicle unit to grab the third place. Steve Cannon, chief of Mercedes' US unit, said in an e-mail that they also managed to post the highest half-year sales in the division’s 47-year history.

For the first half of 2012, Mercedes posted a 16-percent increase in the US to 128,595. Its closest rival and the top-selling luxury brand in the US in 2011, BMW, logged an 11 percent increase in sales.

Mercedes’ sales figure in the US excludes the numbers for Daimler's Sprinter vans and Smart cars as well as BMW's Mini brand, since they are not considered as luxury vehicles. Mercedes' strong performance in the US for the first half of 2012 was boosted by the rollout of the new M-Class SUV, new C-Class two-door, and an updated version of the sedan.

For the first six months of 2012, sales for the M-Class soared 45 percent to 20,626 units while sales for the C-Class, including both the coupe and sedan, jumped 26 percent to 37,686 units.

Although sales of the M-Class dropped in June, it was offset by a 41-percent rise in deliveries of the C-Class. The automaker hopes to further boost its sales in the second half of 2012 by rolling out a new version of the GL three-row SUV and an updated GLK compact SUV.

Even if the Mercedes-Benz GLK already has that excellent gracefulness, the way the exterior has been designed further enhances that. At a glance, it is easy enough to see that the body has the classic features present in all-terrain vehicles but combined with the brand’s current design language. There is the use of the rigid lines as well as the expansive surfaces. In addition, both the front section and the rear one has smooth surfaces and has been designed in a way to highlight the volume. These complement the well-known body features of the GLK that are also in all-terrain vehicles.

The front end has been made more upright, the windscreen is made steeper, while its overhangs are shorter. It also comes with slender roof pillars and a tight roof line. According to Mercedes-Benz, all GLK models will have as standard the daytime driving lights, in LED, that is in a chrome clasp. This will then be positioned just under the headlamps. On the front section, the radiator grille will have two slats and the star in the center, which is the same theme used by many of the brand’s present passenger cars. The slats will have a silver paint but customers will be given the choice to put chrome inserts on them, should they opt to.

Going back to the headlamps, it provides a good example of how the trademark lamp design of the brand can be reinterpreted. For the base model, it will utilize reflection-type headlamps with a chrome torch that goes on two reflectors. Customers who decide to go for the Intelligent Light System will have the bi-xenon headlamps, which will be made up of a reflector and projection unit.

The position light meanwhile is also part of the headlamps but will have fiber-optic LED cables. The headlamp will be positioned on top of the vehicle’s turn signal indicators, which itself makes use of LEDs. It’s designed to have an excellent style but it will also have the advantages being offered by ATVs and has actually been placed in the compact SUV segment.

Some features exclusive to ATVs but are in the new GLK include the departure and approach angle plus ground clearance that would allow it to run off-road anytime and anywhere. Given how clean the body was designed, the addition of the all-round visibility plus the seating position means that the new model can be used on a daily basis and can even offer driving that is more relaxed.

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