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From left: Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Hubertus Troska, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, and chairman & CEO of Daimler Greater China and Dr Thomas Weber, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, head of Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development at the Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA World Premiere Launch Event on April 19.Photos Provided to China Daily
No compromise! That's what Mercedes-Benz's line of thinking is for the Concept GLA, a true beauty in the premium compact SUV segment.
After seeing a 50 percent sales surge in its compact cars and 30 percent increase in SUVs in March, Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, reaffirmed the German luxury vehicle brand's foresight in developing the Concept GLA: "There is no reason not to bring the best of both world's together!"
"Especially when you consider that Mercedes has been building serious all-wheel-drive cars long before they were called SUVs," added Zetsche, when he unveiled the Concept GLA at its world premiere on the eve of Auto Shanghai motor show.
"So, it's about time for us to apply that know-how to the compact SUV segment," said Zetsche. "And definitely, this concept car is our next star for the worldwide growing premium compact car segment. When you set a first sight on it, you must crush on it and want to escape with it everyday."
Statistics show that by the end of this decade, this market segment will increase from 1.7 million units in 2012 to roughly 2.6 million vehicles worldwide.
"The added almost 1-million units by 2020 make clear the further potential of our compact vehicle architecture. And we intend to seize this opportunity with the latest member of our premium compact family - the GLA," said Zetsche.
Zetsche explained that the Concept GLA is a blueprint for the production model that will enter Mercedes-Benz showrooms early next year. "We are confident that the GLA will follow in the tracks of our highly successful A-, B- and CLA-Class," said Zetsche.
That puts the German carmaker's compact premium SUV right on point: it has seen a growing demand for SUVs in general - and for premium compact SUVs in particular.
"It comes with all the safety, connectivity and efficiency that our customers appreciate in the new A-Class, and it offers an unmatched premium trim in this segment. The upscale interior comes with more than 20 meters of leather stitching," said Zetsche.
"And its coupe-like design underlines the 'sports' in sports utility. That means: It's capable and attractive. In short, the Concept GLA is 100 percent Mercedes," he added.
Therefore, "the distinctive look, exceptional handling and driving fun will make it simply an offer our customers won't be able to refuse!"
Besides being stylish and probably the sportiest car in its segment, with distinct avant-garde, yet functional exterior and interior design, the Concept GLA also offers all the benefits typical of Mercedes-Benz including traditional values such as quality, safety, comfort and durability.
Clear evidence of the innovative thinking on the part of the designers that has gone into this concept vehicle is reflected by a number of distinctive features. These include the powerful bonnet with its powerdomes and a sporty radiator grille with centrally positioned star. From the side, the Concept GLA conveys a sense of power and confidence.
In terms of its design, the interior reflects a clear alignment with the interiors of the other new compact Mercedes models, reinterpreted here for a sophisticated and exceptionally high-quality SUV. It is dominated by an exciting juxtaposition of leather and dark galvanised aluminium and the instrument panel is constructed in several layers.
On the power side, the Concept GLA combines dynamic styling with clear benefits for recreational use. Under the bonnet sits a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine rated at 155 kW with a displacement of 1991 cc. Its power is transmitted to the road via the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
"Its proven 4MATIC all-wheel drive combines low weight and high traction. The 211 horsepower four-cylinder engine delivers the necessary torque," said Zesche. "In principle, it is the same system as in the A 45 AMG - compact, lightweight, fast to react and at the same time, robust enough to withstand the full and sustained force of 360 horsepower and 450 Nm."
"But, regardless of which drivetrain you choose - our newly developed 4MATIC system delivers both exceptional handling and maximum traction," he added.
The Concept GLA has speed, but don't forget safety, as a true Mercedes the SUV 100 percent has safety in its DNA. For instance, the series production version will have radar-based Collision Prevention Assist as standard. Needless to say it will also offer comprehensive active and passive safety features.
"Besides distinctive design and the latest driving technology, there's one more thing to raise the 'Pulse of a New Generation' even higher. We'll also offer intelligent connectivity, either with our latest generation of COMAND Online with the latest mobile applications or with our Drive Style Kit, which will offer new features when the GLA comes to the market" said Zetsche.
"So, our Concept GLA perfectly delivers a take-home-message, chic, sporty performance and plenty of emotion," Zetsche concluded.
(China Daily 04/20/2013 page13)