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Mercedes to launch small SUV

Mercedes-Benz will launch a small SUV below the GLK to compete in the premium segment of the market.

Joachim Schmidt, executive vice president , sales and marketing, said: "We really need a small MPV as this segment is performing well and we expect that to continue."

He would not be drawn on when the car will be launched.

Schmidt did say that GLK, currently unavailable in the UK will eventually be launched in Britain. He added:"I am very unhappy that we do not have the GLK in the UK, but there are cost implications in engineering vehicles for right-hand-drive. As more right hand drive markets open up, particularly India, we will overcome these restraints."

Schmidt said this may also open the possibility of four wheel drive C, E and S models coming to the UK.

He also revealed that Mercedes will start volume production of a fuel cell model, the next generation B-Class, in 2014, a year ahead of most other manufacturers' expectations.

"We have just completed the M Class fuel cell world tour and we are on course to launch with the B-Class in 2014. The big issue is infrastructure but we are currently working with Linde to add 20 hydrogen fuel stations in Germany.

"It's still not perfect but it will be enough to get you from north to south and east to west in the country. "

No plans, however, to drop the G-Wagon despite the success of the company's more stylish SUVs. Schmidt said: "It is something we think about every now and again but our customers wouldn't let us.

"The G-Class has a very loyal following and we sell around 6,000 a year."


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