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Mercedes-Benz G-Class Versatile: One of the many uses the iconic Benz G-Wagon will be put to.

Versatile: One of the many uses the iconic Benz G-Wagon will be put to.

DaimlerChrysler wins lucrative 30-year defence contract comprising 1100 G-Wagons

FRESH from giving its all-new Smart ForTwo its Australian debut, releasing a pair of AMG-tweaked muscle cars and announcing diesel power for its S-class and new C-class sedan ranges at the Australian International Motor Show opening, DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific (DCAuP) was this week named as the preferred supplier in one of the largest transport contracts ever awarded by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Years in the making and dubbed the LAND 121 (Overlander) project, the multi-phased contract will provide the ADF with field vehicles and trailers beyond the life-of-type of the current fleet, essentially representing the renewal of the ADF’s entire field vehicle fleet.

Within the contract’s Lightweight/Light category, minister for defence Brendan Nelson announced that DCAuP will supply the ADF with some 1100 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagons, and provide the logistic support for these vehicles for 15 years with an option for a further 15.

According to DCAuP, it will also enter into a strategic agreement with the ADF for the next 30 years, during which it will provide consultative advice and recommendations to ensure the fleet operates at maximum efficiency.

It is believed the G-Wagon, which is currently used by more than 60 armies worldwide, beat vehicles from Land Rover and Toyota to the ADF contract, which calls for models with a one or two tonne payload and a V6 common-rail diesel engine.

One of the G-Wagon variants to be supplied will be a three-axle six-wheel drive vehicle.

The ADF currently employs more than 2000 DaimlerChrysler vehicles ranging from an eight-wheel drive heavy-duty Actros transport vehicles for the Royal Australian Air Force, to Mercedes-Benz touring coaches and Unimog medium cargo vehicles used for activities including refuelling, ambulances services and personnel carrying.

In other DCAuP news, Mercedes-Benz has announced a price of $189,874 for the new short-wheelbase S320 CDI turbo-diesel – the same price as the V6 petrol-powered S350, the entry-level variant in Mercedes’ flagship sedan range.

Due on sale in January, the 174kW/540Nm S320 CDI is motivated by a more powerful version of the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 that powers the 165kW/510Nm C320 CDI sedan, which arrives late next month.

As we reported last week, a price of $92,800 was revealed for the new C-class sedan flagship at Thursday’s Sydney motor show opening, where the $474,974 CL65 AMG coupe and the $349,974 S63 AMG sedan were released.

DCAuP’s biggest Sydney fanfare, however, was reserved for the local premiere of its mini-car brand’s redesigned ForTwo.

Due for local release in February, the new ForTwo is larger and more powerful than before, but Smart says it will offer the same average fuel consumption of 4.8L/100km, which is significantly better than Benz’s new AMG models.



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