Mercedes-Benz R-Class sales ending in U.S., but production chugs along

Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Mercedes-Benz will stop selling its $50,000 R-Class wagon in the United States -- but keep building the luxury people hauler at its Alabama plant for Canada, Mexico and China, where demand continues to grow. Weren't we just writing about how Americans can't get wagons sold everywhere else in the world?

Mercedes spokesman Chrisitan Bokich confirms to Motoramic that there will be no 2013 R-Class sold stateside, which comes as no surprise to Mercedes' U.S. dealers, which had moved fewer than 300 copies through March and will have to work through the inventory on hand. With Mercedes' trio of SUV models -- the M-Class, GL and GLK -- all doing booming business, R-Class sales have shrunk "to the extent that we can no longer make the business case for continuing to offer the R-Class," Bokich said.

Yet that's not the case in foreign markets, where a combination of more expensive fuel and different incentives on vehicles makes car-like wagons with diesel engines better options than tall SUVs. So Mercedes will continue to produce the R-Class through 2015 at its Tuscaloosa, Ala., when it's expected to replace it with a more sleek model related to the M-Class. And those of us who want to think Americans would pick wagons over SUVs if just given a decent model will have to find yet another excuse.

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