It was ten years ago that Mercedes-Benz launched a new room concept with the R-Class. However, the “Grand Sport Tourer”, as the five to seven-seater at that time, was never apostrophic. A total of 20 units were produced in the best production year - at Daimler's Tuscaloosa plant in the US state of Alabama.
A few years ago, nobody would have expected the R-Class to experience another spring. But that's exactly what happened - in China. While the model has not been offered in any other market since 2013, demand in the Far East has stabilized at around 10 units per year.
Daimler is now relocating production from Tuscaloosa to AM General in South Bend, Indiana, USA. The military vehicle HMMWV, the well-known “Hummer”, rolls off the assembly line there. The reason for this is the strong demand for the SUV models that Daimler is building in Tuscaloosa. The Stuttgart build the M-Class, the GL and soon also the GLE Coupé.
The R-Class could also have been built in China. But the existing supply network speaks for the location in Indiana - and the proximity to the previous manufacturing location. After all, part of the production equipment has to be transported.
It remains that the R-Class - it was once available with up to 375 kW / 510 PS - is only offered in China and only with a long wheelbase. And there is no end in sight. The space miracle has become a perennial favorite.
(Ampnet / jm)