by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

REPORT: Mercedes-Benz USA suspends sales of the R-Class beginning with 2013MY*

It is no secret the R-Class is a big failure in the United States, the market this car was specifically designed for. Because of ongoing poor figures, MBUSA took the decision to axe the large crossover from the range beginning with the *2013 model year, company's PR manager Christian Bokich confirmed recently.

Released ahead of its time, the W 251 never managed to revolutionize the automotive industry, partly due to its awkward styling, the unappealing combination between an SUV, an estate and an MPV and the inefficient marketing strategy. Sales were sluggish right from the start and the situation became worse as years passed. The mid-cycle facelift from April 2010 didn't bring any ray of hope in the end, as the number of units sold merely rose in the U.S. only to begin dropping once again shortly after. In February 2012, the R-Class appealed to just 163 Stateside clients, which is 8.4% less than in February 2011. On a year-to-date basis, 2012 sales for the R-Class declined by almost 30% compared to the same period of 2011.

On the contrary, in emerging markets such as China, figures for the R-Class experience a constant growth trend. The crossover is also doing well in Canada and Mexico, so production of this model is planned to continue through 2015 at the Tuscaloosa plant, when a new generation is said to come into force.

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