“The GLB is a new family member of our compact platform,” Daimler CEO Ola Källenius, told Automotive News at the Shanghai auto show in April, where Mercedes showed a near-production concept of the baby crossover.
“It feels like a younger brother of a mix of the GLS and the G,” Källenius said. “It has a little ruggedness of the G, it has some of the elegance of the GLS.”
The GLB is expected to arrive at stores by Christmas, U.S. dealers were told last month. In the U.S., the GLB will compete with the BMW X1, Range Rover Discovery Sport and Volkswagen Tiguan. It will slot between the GLA and the GLC in the Mercedes crossover/SUV lineup.
So far this year, U.S. sales of compact premium crossovers have climbed 9.4 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing light-truck segments.
Referred to as the Baby G-Wagen, the GLB underscores the fragmentation of the premium crossover market, as luxury brands pursue new entries on the affordability scale.
“As SUVs now outsell passenger cars in the U.S., there is opportunity for more variety and incremental models that address specific target buyers,” said Ed Kim, an analyst with AutoPacific.