Speculation has been rife that the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class will swap its name to GLE-Class, while the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class not currently sold in Australia, but which will arrive here in its next generation, will be called GLC-Class.
“We will announce in November,” said Mercedes-Benz head of research and development and member of the board Dr Thomas Weber. “We will officially make this speculation more complete, which lies around we will see a new naming strategy across our car lines which, the idea behind it is to make it more clear for our customers in which segment we divide our vehicles.”
That gives great weight to the rumours that the GLK-Class will be renamed GLC-Class (new generation spied here - and more here) because it is the SUV version of the C-Class, and likewise the ML-Class will move to GLE-Class as it is similar in size to the E-Class. It will fall into the same line as the A-Class-based SUV, the GLA-Class.
“This naming we used today, the real customer not really understand what is behind,” continued Weber, clearly pointing to the random line-up of SUV names that currently runs (from smallest to largest) GLA, GLK, ML, GL and G-Wagen.
Dr. Weber threw a spanner into the works, however, when he suggested that more than just SUVs may be up for a name-change in November, which will likely be made at the Los Angeles motor show of the same month.
“Yes of course I can confirm on the SUVs for example, but we are talking about all Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, not only SUVs.”
The new GLC-Class is only months away, and is expected in Australia late next year, while insiders have told CarAdvice that the design of the new GLE-Class due in 2016/17 is being fiercely debated - it will form a new design language for the brand, though radical proposals are being turned down in favour of more conservative options, as Benz looks to move away from a classically ML-Class look.
The GLE-Class will enter the line-up well after the launch of the new E-Class sedan and wagon early next year (with Australian models to follow late next year), which is expected to closely mimic the styling of the C-Class and S-Class.