This is our first glimpse of Mercedes’ new rival to the BMW X6. It’s the new Mercedes Concept Coupe SUV, a show car set to be unveiled at the Beijing auto show later this month, but it also previews a new ML-based 4x4 that’ll go on sale in 2015.
Mercedes Concept Coupe SUV: a preview of the X6-rivalling MLC
The solitary teaser image was revealed at the Daimler annual shareholders' meeting (sounds like a fun event…) where chairman of the board of management and head of Mercedes' car division Dr Dieter Zetsche announced the company’s future expansion plans. 'With the Concept Coupe SUV we aim to secure new customers by opening up new segments for Mercedes-Benz,' explained Dr Zetsche. 'We see a great deal of potential for Mercedes-Benz in the combination of coupe and SUV.'
The new SUV, based on the same platform as the ML and GL, and expected to be called MLC, will be built at Mercedes’ factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the USA, and share the same range of four-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines, including an AMG version and a parsimonious new plug-in hybrid. Mercedes claims the Concept Coupe SUV 'provides a realistic glimpse of a series-production vehicle expected next year, which will boast very dynamic handling.' As part of that promise, we hear the MLC will feature the same Active Curve Tilting system that recently debuted on the new S-class Coupe.
The MLC is one of 12 new models Mercedes will add to its range by 2020; others new cars coming include the CLA Shooting Brake, the new GT AMG supercar, a wider range of S-class variants, and a smaller GLC coupe-SUV aimed at the BMW X4.
Dare we ask, but did anything else interesting happen at Daimler’s annual shareholders’ meeting?
Dr Zetsche admitted that Daimler had a tough start to 2013, but between its car and truck divisions it sold 2.4m vehicles in the last financial year, while group revenues were up to €118 billion (2012: €114.3 billion) and net profit increased 28% to €8.7 billion (2012: €6.8 billion). And going forward, Dr Zetsche wants an average return-on-sales of 9% from Mercedes, plus he aims for it to cut out €2bn in costs by the end of 2014.
It doesn’t stop there either: Dr Zetsche confirmed successors to the Smart ForTwo and four-seat Smart ForFour will be unveiled towards the end of 2014; by the end of the year Mercedes will open 100 new dealerships in China too; and in 2015 it’ll double production capacity there to 200,000 vehicles.