wheels was amongst the first in the region to be invited to view the new G-Class at Inked, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai this week and we spoke to Lennart Mueller-Teut, head of marketing and communications, Mercedes-Benz cars Middle East, all about the rugged, second-generation SUV:
How important is it to have an iconic vehicle such as this new G-Class in your portfolio?
It is very important because it was launched more than 40 years ago and so it has got a lot of history. Our flagship SUV was invented long before the terms “sport-utility vehicle” or “crossover” had been coined and it has become a status symbol thanks in large part to its clientele. It has been a great success for us and the Middle East is one of the most important regions for the G-Class worldwide and the UAE even more specifically so as a country.
It’s been reimagined but proudly retains the recognizable boxy shape; was that to keep the masses of existing fans happy?
First of all we wanted to keep ourselves happy with the boxy design; we didn’t want to reinvent the G-Class. Usually when you design a new car you ask yourself ‘what do we need to change’ but with the G-Class it was completely different because we asked ourselves ‘what do we need to keep’ and the iconic design of the exterior had to stay exactly the same.
The customer base is still strong especially here in the UAE; why does it appeal so much to affluent buyers — and how important is the Middle East market for this model?
Compared to the entire worldwide volume the G-Class has the highest share in this region and I think the heritage of the car plays a big role in the fascination that it has to so many people.
We are extremely pleased and grateful for all of the support we have been given by the community and customers in the UAE.
Electric vehicles are becoming more accepted and these will grow under the EQ sub brand — but how will you ensure these will be enjoyable to drive?
With the Project One for example, we are bringing Formula 1 technology to the road and I think this is as thrilling as any automobile has ever been or will ever be so we pay a lot of respect to ensure we can deliver cars that can thrill our customers.
We have a strategic team working relentlessly to maintain the performance aspect of our cars while preparing for the future of mobility.
Can a pure-electric G-Class be built and is this a direction customers would want this iconic model to take?
For the time being we are extremely thrilled to introduce the model with our combustion engines.
Mercedes-Benz has a long history and over the past 130 years there have been lots of changes in our vehicles, so let’s see what the future will bring.
What can we expect from the all-new dedicated Mercedes-AMG showroom that will come to Abu Dhabi?
It is planned to open in 2019 and will be the first real standalone AMG showroom in the world. It’ll be massive, it has a tremendous footprint and we are building it on Yas Island, the home of motorsport in the Middle East.