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by Jez Spinks

The Mercedes-Benz GLK may once again escape Australian buyers looking for a medium-sized luxury SUV from the three-pointed star when the second-generation model goes on sale by 2014.

Mercedes’ original GLK (main picture) couldn’t be converted for right-hand-drive markets because of an engineering oversight relating to the four-wheel-drive system.

The replacement model has been confirmed for production in both left- and right-hand drive, though a Mercedes-Benz Australia source says the company is still weighing up whether to introduce the off-roader that could clash with the upcoming, B-Class-based baby SUV, the GLA (spied below).

“We have missed not having the current GLK in Australia, though the second generation isn’t guaranteed to come here,” the insider told CarAdvice. “We already have one of the most comprehensive vehicle line-ups in Australia, and the question is, ‘Do we have room for another SUV?’

“We already have the ML, the GL and G-wagen. And if we’re going to have an SUV at a lower price point, what’s more appealing for consumers – the smaller GLA or the GLK?

“It’s a no-brainer for us to take the GLA, which we see as having huge sales potential. But a final decision on GLK hasn’t been made yet.”

The Mercedes-Benz GLA will be offered in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive formats, whereas the GLK is rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

The GLA is based on Mercedes-Benz’s new compact vehicle platform that’s dubbed MFA and is underpinning a whole range of smaller Mercs that also include the A-Class hatch, B-Class MPV and CLA sedan.

The GLA and B-Class both sit on a higher-floor version of the MFA platform to deliver the ‘command’ seating position appreciated by MPV and SUV buyers.