German carmakers expect to partially compensate their dwindling sales in Europe this year with double-digit growth in the United States. Mercedes-Benz USA chief executive Steve Cannon told Automotive News Europe that they expect to post a 10-percent jump in the US in 2013. Likewise, BMW North America chief executive Ludwig Willisch expects another two-digit growth this year.
The German Big Three -- BMW Group, Daimler AG and Volkswagen Group – posted a combined 21-percent rise in the US to almost 1.25 million vehicles in 2012. Five of the carmakers’ brands logged new sales records in the US in 2012 -- a number of which could be surpassed this year.
Morgan Stanley Managing Director Adam Jonas told the Automotive News World Congress in January that pent-up demand will boost the overall light-vehicle sales in the US to 16 million units this year, from 14.5 million units last year. If true, this would be the fourth straight year that the US market posts rise in sales.
Morgan Stanley, however, expects light vehicle sales in Western Europe to drop for a sixth straight year in 2013 to 4 percent to 12.7 million units. Light vehicle sales in the region were 13.2 million in 2012.
German carmakers, however, might have reasons to rejoice since demand for their product is growing at a faster pace that the overall US market, which gained 13 percent in 2012. Only Mercedes-Benz brand posted growth similar to the market average while Audi, BMW and Mini and VW brand did much better. Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said at the Detroit auto show in January that he expects US and China to be the bright spots in 2013 compared with Europe.
The claim of the Mercedes-Benz GLK that it leads the compact SUV class is not an empty one. Officially unveiled in April 2012, this latest offering from the brand has been fitted with the innovative assistance systems, a new design, and engines that complement agility and efficiency. There is also a wider range of appointments and equipment. Indeed, it is able to show its full potential whether on the road or during an off-road drive.
When it comes to the powertrain, all of the GLK models will be equipped with engines that ensure performance and drive comfort. At the same time, emissions and fuel consumption are ensured to be low. Engine options total seven with one being petrol-powered and the rest with diesel. A good example is the GLK 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC. It features a four-cylinder diesel engine capable of 204 hp (150 kW) with peak torque of 500 Nm from a 2143-cc displacement.
Even with the exceptional performance, fuel consumption is still excellent. Consumption is estimated to be between 6.1 liters and up to 6.5 liters for every 100 km. Emissions meanwhile, under the NEDC combined mode, are measured to be from 159 and up to 169 g CO2/km. In terms of design, the team at the brand’s Centre of Competence for Interiors made sure to make some changes on the dashboard.
There is now a wide trim, made of aluminum, which goes through the dashboard’s width. Customers can have the option to have wood instead of aluminum. One feature that is sure to catch one’s eye are the new round vents plus the extra trim elements that come in silver shadow. For the instrument cluster, one option is the high-end color display. Additional features are the new colors for the upholstery and the sports three-spoke steering wheel.
New as well are the designs of the seats. A first for the GLK though is the ambient lighting which utilizes fiber-optic LED technology. This improves the feel-good feel of the interior. Going to the exterior, the new design gives it that additional dynamism. It is clear that the design of the body has the classic elements found on all-terrain vehicles and mixed in with the present design language of many of the brand’s models.
Thus there are expansive surfaces, stringent lines, and the regions in the front and the rear that have smooth surfaces and put focus on the volume. All of these are able to complement many of the standard body features of the GLK, the same one observed in the functional and classic all-terrain vehicles.
While the design does bring with it excellent advantages when it comes to off-road driving, there are also benefits for daily use. Since the driver’s seat is placed on a higher position, it allows for a better view to assess the current traffic situation. Further, the body lines were designed in a way to deliver exceptional visibility.