Mercedes-Benz’s Turnaround Looks a Lot Like Audi’s

2017-mercedes-benz-gls

There’s a German automaker in the midst of a turnaround. The company has redesigned many of its vehicles and has plans to introduce additional models, including sedans, crossovers, and SUVs.

The brand is also forging ahead with plans for dedicated electric vehicles and cars with advanced autonomous driving technology.

The front-end design has evolved over the years into a signature look that the automaker hopes to expand into new models, while continuing to push design limits in future concept vehicles.

The automaker has also sworn off trends such as convertible SUVs and 2-door SUVs in favor of more traditional sedans, SUVs, and crossovers.

We’re talking about the new face of Mercedes-Benz.

But could the German car giant be gunning for some of Audi’s success?

Audi built its comeback on striking design, unmatched interiors, and the perfect combination of luxury and performance. The brand attracts a young, affluent audience and has captured about 10 percent of the luxury market in the United States.

Mercedes-Benz sells more cars annually than Audi, but it’s hard to make the case that MB is a cooler brand. To avoid losing market share to a rising Audi, MB needs to act fast to keep its cars attractive and fresh.

Automotive News interviewed Gorden Wagener, chief of design for Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG, and asked him about design strategy and upcoming plans for new vehicles. It’s pretty clear that MB won’t sit idle and let another automaker steal its thunder. According to Wagener, the brand is moving from a more conservative appearance to a bold, sporty look.

What Mr. Wagener didn’t mention was the possibility of a Mercedes-Benz pickup.

A Mercedes truck could still find its way into the U.S. market. A pickup, currently going by the name GLT, is being developed with the help of Nissan for the European, Australian, South African and Latin American markets. A Daimler press release says, “The vehicle will have all of Mercedes Benz’ distinctive characteristics and features,” but won’t, according to a Car and Driver article, be a “fat cowboy truck for North America.”

The truck will enter production by the end of the decade, and could help Mercedes-Benz counter Audi’s growth.

Would you rather drive a Mercedes-Benz or an Audi?

-tgriffith

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