KITZBUEHEL, Austria -- Mercedes-Benz is expanding its crossover family with a new niche vehicle to lure the nontraditional SUV buyer: the GLE Coupe, aimed at the BMW X6.
The GLE Coupe has four doors but coupelike looks and is designed to appeal to buyers seeking sporty, emotional styling, said Wolf-Dieter Kurz, Mercedes vice president of product group SUVs and sports cars.
Why did Mercedes wait to launch the GLE Coupe? Kurz said the brand’s priority was to first develop more volume at the bottom of its product range with new compacts including the compact B-class Electric Drive, CLA sedan and GLA crossover.
“When BMW launched its vehicle we watched, but we had a different focus at the time,” Kurz said. “Now, we have the opposite, we are doing the GLE Coupe, and other manufacturers are doing vehicles that look a bit like the B class.”
Mercedes could quickly and cost-effectively develop the coupe variant of the crossover because the two GLEs share the same body structure underneath the sheet metal and the same front-end sheet metal but different sides and windows, Kurz said.
He did not project sales volume for the GLE Coupe but said, “if you look at BMW figures, our expectations would be similar because we are in the same market segments.”