The Mercedes-Benz model portfolio has expanded rapidly in recent years and continues to grow. The comprehensive model initiative that is currently successfully under way means that, by 2020, the Stuttgart-based premium brand will have brought more than 30 models on to the market worldwide, among them at least eleven that have no precursor in the current product portfolio. On top of this come the different body variants and drive systems. This results in an increasingly complex situation when it comes to naming the various models.
“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,” said Dr Jens Thiemer during the launch of the new nomenclature.
“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.”
The system behind the new nomenclature is simple, clear and transparent. The model designation is always an acronym made up of between one and three upper-case letters. The different types of engine are indicated by a lower-case letter. The system centres around the five core model series: A, B, C, E and S, which will continue to be used to provide orientation for Mercedes-Benz customers. In the case of the model designations for the SUVs, in a tribute to the legendary G Class, all SUV models will in the future have the first two letters “GL” in their name. The “G” here denotes the car’s lineage. The “L” is a letter that appears time and time again over the history of Mercedes-Benz. It is a linking letter that makes the model designations easier to remember and easier to pronounce; one that is familiar from the legendary SL, for example, or from the more recent CLS and CLA. It is followed by the third letter, which indicates the relationship to the relevant core model series. In specific terms:
|GLA||= GL A-Class|
|GLC||= GL C-Class; previously GLK|
|GLE||= GL E-Class; previously M-Class or ML|
|GLE Coupé||= GL E-Class Coupé|
|GLS||= GL S-Class; previously GL|
The system for the 4-door Coupés is constructed along similar lines. The first two letters, “CL”, denote the origin, the third letter the link to one of the core model series: in other words CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, or CLS and CLS Shooting Brake.
From 2016 on, the Roadsters will all include “SL” in their names to denote their origin, with the third letter again the link to one of the core model series. The SLK therefore becomes the new SLC. As in the case of the G, the SL retains its designation as hitherto, in recognition of its iconic status.
In a development paralleling that of the model series designations, the different types of engines will also be given new designations. These provide clear orientation and are also shorter than the designations used until now. The boot lids will in future feature lower-case letters, whose meaning is as follows:
|c for “compressed natural gas”||(Natural Gas Drive until now)|
|d for “diesel”||(BlueTEC and CDI until now)|
|e for “electric”||(PLUG-IN HYBRID, BlueTEC PLUG-IN HYBRID and|
Electric Drive until now)
|f for “fuel cell”||(F-CELL until now)|
|h for “hybrid”||(HYBRID and BlueTEC HYBRID until now)|
As has been the case until now, there will be no suffix for the petrol models. The defining and established designation 4MATIC for our all-wheel-drive vehicles will remain unchanged and, indeed, will be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary next year. Given the way that Mercedes-Benz has evolved into the leading brand for all-wheel drive, 4MATIC will in future play an even more important role in their model portfolio. As a result of a steadily growing demand, Mercedes-Benz will in future be adding further models to the all-wheel drive segment.
“More clarity, more transparency, more consistency for Mercedes-Benz customers – we are convinced that our new nomenclature will support us in achieving this objective. The logic built up on the basis of the core model series will enable our customers to find their way round our growing product portfolio far better,” was the way Dr Jens Thiemer summarised the new nomenclature.