The Stuttgart-based luxury car maker's plans to introduce over 30 models across its global markets by 2020 seems to be coming along rather well. Out of those 30, at least 11 will be brand new i.e. they will have no predecessor from the company's current portfolio. These new models will include different body types and drive systems, which consequently means an increasingly complex situation as far as naming the various models is concerned.
Dr Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing Communications, Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars, said, "After more than 20 years of continuity involving some of the most recognised and successful product names in the world, we are now making our system of vehicle nomenclature even more understandable. Bearing in mind the international appeal of our brand, our plan has been to devise an even simpler, more transparent and more logical system for the designations of our model series, with the aim of providing clear orientation for our customers. Now is the ideal time to do this, for in 2015 we will be updating virtually our whole SUV model range, providing us with the perfect starting point for renaming the whole family of vehicles."
Before I explain the new nomenclature, one must understand that the name of a Mercedes-Benz model is always an acronym made up of one to three upper-case letters. The different types of engine are indicated by a lower-case letter. The the five core model series, i.e. A, B, C, E and S, are central to the company's naming convention and will continue to be used to provide orientation for our customers.
Moving on to its SUVs, all the future models will geature 'GL' in their name; while the 'G' here denotes the car's lineage, the 'L' appears every now and then over Mercedes-Benz's history. This linking letter is then followed by the third letter, which will indicate the relationship to the relevant core model series.
Here's a chart to help you understand the new system better:
GLA = GL A-Class
GLC = GL C-Class; previously GLK
GLE = GL E-Class; previously M-Class or ML
GLE Coupe = GL E-Class Coupe
GLS = GL S-Class; previously GL
G = unchanged
The system for 4-door coupes is somewhat similar; the first two letters, 'CL', denote the origin and the third letter will serve as the link to one of the core model series: in other words CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, or CLS and CLS Shooting Brake.
Come 2016 and Mercedes-Benz roadsters will include 'SL' in their names to denote their origin, with the third letter again serving as the link to one of the core model series. In effect, the SLK will become the new SLC. As in the case of the G, the SL retains its designation as hitherto, in recognition of its iconic status.