Mercedes-Benz USA will stop selling its R-Class wagon, made in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the United States and will instead focus on sales of the vehicle the Chinese markets, a spokewoman for the company said.
Although the vehicle will still be made in Alabama, its sales will all be directed overseas. The R-Class has an MSRP of $52,690, and sales have been lackluster for the expensive station wagon. Less than 300 Mercedes-Benz R-Class wagons had been sold this year in the U.S. as of March, despite record U.S. sales for Mercedes-Benz in February, and monthly sales for the wagon fell by 8.4 percent, a Mercedes spokesperson said Tuesday.
Mercedes-Benz U.S. sales in February were carried by the company's smaller, sportier C and E-class cars, and by its line of SUVs. The failure of the R-Class in the U.S. throws into question yet again whether station wagons are viable in an American market that seems to prefer SUVs.
Over the years since the R-Class was introduced, we have expanded our light truck model offering significantly and these vehicles are outselling the R-Class to the extent that we can no longer make the business case for continuing to offer the R-Class, a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz USA said.
The change in R-Class sales comes following the appointment of Michael Slagter as Senior Vice President for U.S. sales at Mercedes-Benz.
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class will continue to be built in Tuscaloosa through 2015 for export abroad. After 2015, R-Class production at the plant is expected to be replaced with a new model related to the M series cars, according to Yahoo Autos.