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End of the track for Mercedes G-Pro

Production of civilian G-Wagon ends as local Mercedes-Benz arm hopes for a successor

12 Nov 2019

PRODUCTION of the utilitarian Mercedes-Benz G-Professional cab-chassis and wagon range has come to an end for Australia, with just a handful remaining in dealer stock and expected to be snapped up before the year is out.

 

The G-Professional was a civilian model that spawned from a supply contract between Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific (MBAP) and the Australian Defence Force for a fleet of more than 2200 G-Wagons in various formats that were delivered between 2012 and 2016.

 

Special six-wheel-drive variants were developed at ADF behest, spawning the wild G63 AMG 6x6 and an even more off-the-wall version by tuning house Brabus, neither of which were officially sold in Australia.

 

Now that the latest second-generation W463 G-Class is in full swing with initial deliveries of the flagship G63 AMG variant already launched and sold out in Australia, production of the old body style and chassis on which the G-Professional was based – that can be traced back to 1974 – has been sidelined.

 

MBAP head of media relations and brand engagement Jerry Stamoulis confirmed to GoAuto that the G-Professional’s model lifecycle had ended, at least for Australia, and that the company would be “very interested” in a successor.

 

“I don’t know if they’re building something specifically for another country that we’re not aware of, but as a G-Professional for private use, it’s not available to us anymore,” he said.

 

“Will there be another Professional? We’ll just have to wait and see. Historically it is not something that just comes out with the G63 … I think regardless of what the mechanical structure of what the new layout is, we’d be interested in another G-Professional, for sure.”

 

A Department of Defence spokesperson told GoAuto the ADF G-Wagon fleet “has been delivered in full by Mercedes Benz Australia Pacific” and that there were “no further supply arrangements for delivery of G-Wagon vehicles”.

 

“The existing fleet of the G-Wagon is planned to remain in service until a replacement is selected through an open approach to market, which is expected to commence from 2026,” they added.

 

Mr Stamoulis denied that the G-Professional’s demise was linked to any supply arrangements.

 

“That body style ceased production, and the G-Professional ceased production,” he said. “It’s got nothing to do with any contract or anything like that. It’s just that its lifecycle has ended.”

 

When GoAuto exclusively reported in August 2016 that G-Professional would go on sale in Australia, then MBAP public relations, product and corporate communications senior manager David McCarthy forecast around 500 annual sales for the rugged four-wheel-drive.

 

“I’d be surprised if we don’t do 500 in a full year,” he said at the time. “It does depend on availability, but we’ve been given this capacity because we are a good market.”

 

According to VFACTS data, Mercedes-Benz delivered just 410 G-Professional cab chassis models and 112 wagons in Australia since they respectively went on sale at in December 2016 and September 2017.

 

Despite slower than expected sales of the G-Professional, Mr Stamoulis said volume would not colour the decision of MBAP to reintroduce a new-generation version if the opportunity arose.

 

“It’s not one of those cars that you look at its performance; there’s a small group of customers who are very interested and we want to try to fulfil their requests because no one else can.”

 

The new V8-powered G63 launched in Australia late last year carrying a hefty pricetag of $246,970 plus on-road costs, with a less expensive six-cylinder diesel version slated to arrive in the third quarter of 2020 costing less than $200,000.

 

As reported, the entry-level G350d may be bumped here in favour of the more powerful G400d that extracts more power and torque from the same 2.9-litre V6 and launched overseas in June, although the petrol-powered G500 – sold elsewhere with a detuned version of the G63’s 4.0-litre V8 – has been ruled out for this market.

 

The G-Professional was sold at $109,900 plus on-roads for the wagon and $119,900 plus on-roads for the cab chassis, both powered by a V6 turbo-diesel engine and packing the same heavy-duty chassis as those delivered to the ADF, equipped with off-road hardware including a bullbar, indicator guards, a snorkel, twin batteries and underbody protection for the sump and transmission.


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