► The rise of SUVs isn't over yet
► More Merc crossovers to come
► CEO Dieter Zetsche opens up to CAR
Look away now if you hate 4x4s: the unstoppable rise and rise of the SUV market is showing no sign of abating yet - and there's more to come, Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche told CAR at the world debut of the GLC crossover.
In a one-on-one interview the Daimler chairman revealed that Merc would continue to exploit the global popularity of SUVs and confirmed that new incremental models were under development. In 18 years, the company has gone from one rugged 4x4 - the G-wagen - to five, with the arrival of the M-class, GL, GLA and - from October 2015 - the GLC.
In the first quarter of 2015, Mercedes sold 30% more SUVs than in the same period in 2014. It's hard facts like this which are fuelling the growth.
Dr Z on Mercedes' 4x4 plans
Zetsche is adamant that customers want the higher seating position, superior visibility and other 'perceived benefits' of SUVs. 'Even if they rarely use their off-road ability, it's an insurance policy - they like knowing they can get out if the weather turns bad,' he told CAR.
'Our assessment is that we will see even higher growth in SUV sales in the years ahead - and that view is in line with the wider industry. We are continuing to develop more product ideas.
'We are going through every segment we offer and looking to see if we can offer a more rugged model and a more coupe-like version. This is not the end of our SUV expansion at all.'
News analysis: why the German brands are going SUV crazy.