There’s been a lot of talk about Mercedes’ plans to introduce a new naming scheme for its models, especially across its SUV lineup, which will no longer include the GL, ML and GLK monikers. We already knew the Germans are planning to rename its crossovers based on the car platform they’re built on, but Stuttgart has finally come out with the full details surrounding its new strategy.

The new system aims to simplify model names for customers and establish a connection between vehicles based on the underpinnings they share. The majority of the lineup will continue to use the names we’re already familiar with, and the changes will be centered around the brand’s five core models: A, B, C, E and S. The G-Wagon, GLA crossover, CLS, CLA and the SL continue to be sold under the same moniker, while the rest of the range receives new badges.

Click past the jump to read more about Mercedes-Benz’s new nomenclature.

Model Series

Specifically, all SUV and crossover models, except the G-Class model, will have "GL" as the first two letters in their name. Mercedes explains "G" denoted the car’s lineage, while "L" is a letter that "appears time and time again over the history" of the company. A third letter is added to each model’s name, which indicates its connection with the core model series. The GL becomes the GLS, the ML is renamed GLE, while the current GLK is set to change its name to GLC. In short, the GLS is the S-Class of the crossover lineup, while the GLC hints there’s a C-Class platform underneath. Additionally, the X6 competitor known as the MLC until today will be dubbed GLE Coupe.

Moving over to cars, Mercedes is changing only one name. The compact roadster known as the SLK since its inception in 1996 becomes the SLC. The larger SL roadster gets to keep its denomination.

Drive Systems

Mercedes-Benz Announces New Naming Strategy
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The company’s nomenclature for drive systems gets a few updates as well. While cars running on compressed natural gas, diesel and hybrid drivetrains continue to feature "c", "d", and "h" letters, respectively, in their names, the all-electric and fuel cell vehicles switch to "e" and "f". For example, the all-electric B-Class Electric Drive becomes the B250e, while the B-Class Fuel Cell receives a B200f badge. All-wheel-drive models continue with 4MATIC monikers attached to their names.

Why it matters

Unlike Cadillac, which is looking to build a brand-new image, Mercedes is out to simplify model names across the entire lineup. Granted, the new nomenclature strategy does just that by gathering all Mercedes-Benz nameplates around the core models. Once the upcoming GLB joins ranks, customers will find it very easy to identify a crossover/SUV according to the platform underpinning the company’s cars. It doesn’t get simpler than this.

Press Release

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 our customers. In the case of the model designations for the SUVs, in a tribute to the legendary GClass, 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

G = unchanged

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 our model portfolio. As a result of a steadily growing demand, we 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.

Expanded brand world of Mercedes-Benz offers more

The expanded brand world of Mercedes-Benz now comprises two sub-brands alongside Mercedes-Benz as the core brand, whereby Mercedes-Benz stands for "The best", in a unique combination of emotional fascination and intelligent persuasiveness. Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach interpret "The best" from the perspective of performance and exclusivity-seeking customers respectively. In addition, since the spring of 2014 "Mercedes me" has been opening up a simplified and individualised way in to the overall world of Mercedes-Benz for all customers and prospects, under the central concept of "The best for me".

"By expanding our brand world we are able to offer our customers some new ideas about Mercedes-Benz", according to Ola Källenius. "Even more choice and individuality in terms of our products, and a transparent and logical structure around them in the form of our new nomenclature."

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