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Mercedes C-Class All-Terrain still years away

High estate: The current C-Class Estate is proving popular in Australia and in Europe but a jacked-up All-Terrain version will have to wait until the next generation.

Strong demand for Benz C-Class wagon, GLC SUV halts All-Terrain expansion

2 Dec 2016


MERCEDES-BENZ says that it is unlikely to develop an All-Terrain version of the current C-Class wagon, as it is well advanced in the development of the next-generation W206-series due in the early part of next decade.

While some German motoring media have reported that a C-Class All-Terrain is in the pipeline in time for the W205-Series II facelift due in 2018, Daimler AG E-Class development manager Martin Lorenz refuted that, telling GoAuto that the brand is at near full capacity meeting demand for its C-Class and GLC medium SUV at the Bremen plant in Germany.

“I think that a C-Class All-Terrain is not likely at all (for this generation),” he told GoAuto at the E-Class All-Terrain launch in Austria this month. “The reality is there is just not enough capacity at the Bremen plant with C-Class and GLC going so strong.

“And if you look at where we are with the (current) C-Class, we are more than two years into the cycle and we are working on the facelift… so I think that it will not happen.”

A jacked-up version of the C-Class Estate would be a direct competitor for Audi’s successful new Audi A4 Allroad Quattro.

According to Mr Lorenz, while the C-Class and E-Class share many common elements of the MRA Modular Rear-drive Architecture, including the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, the level of reengineering necessary to transform the smaller of the two vehicles into an All-Terrain is far more complex than merely raising the ride height and adding extra body cladding around the extremities.

“This exercise is very complicated and expensive exercise,” he said.

Mr Lorenz also added that Mercedes-Benz has a very large number of traditionalists, so change has to happen at the right pace for the brand.

Additionally, he said he believes that management is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach based on the reception that the E-Class All-Terrain receives when its international rollout begins in the first quarter of next year.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager public relations product and corporate communications David McCarthy backed up Mr Lorenz’s comments, revealing that there has not been any discussion in an Australian context as yet about a C-Class All-Terrain.

“I’m not aware of it at all,” he said. “But with the C-Class Estate and GLC being very popular in Europe right now, I don’t know whether there are any plans.”

In Australia the Estate body style makes up 10 per cent of all C-Class sales.

The Benz C-Class continues to dominate the premium mid-size segment in Australia, with 5486 units shifted to the end of October, a 32.6 per cent decline over the same period in 2015.

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