Mercedes Benz planning to build its GLK SUV in China

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 27, 2011

As part of efforts to widen its share in one of China’s fastest-growing product segments, Mercedes-Benz plans to build its GLK SUV in China. So far, Mercedes has made the C- and E-class in a joint venture with the Chinese firm Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.

Mercedes sales chief Joachim Schmidt told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe, that within a reasonable period of time, the GLK compact SUV will also be built in China for Chinese customers.

In 2010, Mercedes sold 147,700 vehicles in China, a 115 percent increase over 2009. A total of 12,500 vehicles were GLKs built in Germany and by 2015 that volume is expected to climb to 300,000 units. The compact SUV segment is likely to significantly grow in China.

IHS Automotive, a forecasting institute, expects Mercedes to increase from 408,000 vehicles in 2010 to 586,000 in 2013. The GLK could then reach 17,000 units in 2013.

Rival Audi Q5, by comparison, will likely achieve sales of 39,000 units, while the BMW X3, an import, remains at 5,000 units. An engine factory is also planned as part of Mercedes parent Daimler AG's EUR3 billion (CNY26.8 billion) investment in China.

Packed with the genuine character that people have grown to love, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is more than prepared to face the world of compact SUVs. While its compact body form is unique in the sense that it is both appealing and practical, it is not the only thing that sets it apart from those in the same class.

Take the Agility Control suspension for example. It delivers a unique mix of excellent ride comfort, remarkable driving safety, and superior handling dynamics. Then there is the variable 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system which, when combined with the newest electronic control systems, allows for perfect performance on the road and amazing off-road capability.

This combination is the very reason why the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class continues to have a strong appeal. It is not surprising to know then that this model is one of the SUVs from the brand that is more road-oriented.

The "G" in its name in fact refers to the classic Mercedes off-roader, making it appropriate to be part of the name. Installed in the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class are four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines which deliver amazing power despite being eco-friendly and economical, resulting in an excellent performance.

GLK 220 CDI’s BlueEFFICIENCY variant comes with the brand’s newest four-cylinder diesel engine that while capable of delivering 125 kW (170 hp), will only need 6.9 liters of diesel for every 100 kilometers. The unshakeable foundations that make up the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class are just as extraordinary.

Its highly robust body plays a crucial role when it comes to offering low noise levels, high-degree of comfort on the interior, high value and retention, and passive-safety setup. Interior comfort is important as this is vital in any standard Mercedes-Benz.

Helping the GLK rise above the other compact-SUVs in its class are the attractive equipment packages and the admirable appointments. It also boasts of having the latest systems like the Intelligent Light System and PRE-SAFE safety concept.

The confident and controlled presence of the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class ensures that its appearance reveals its true intention of dominating the compact premium SUV segment. One can even argue that it is the most cutting-edge version of this theme.

It also mirrors the G-Class, the founding father of the brand’s SUV family. Design chief Prof. Peter Pfeiffer shares the story that when the G-Class was first made, it became a style icon that managed to set new standards in SUV design for 30 years. With the current Mercedes-Benz design idiom and the bold concept combined, this indeed ensures that the GLK is a vehicle with its own stand-out characteristics.

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