Mercedes-Benz Could Offer A Convertible SUV
There seems to be no kind of vehicle which designers have more difficulty with than convertible SUVs. Civilian derivatives of military vehicles often manges to pull this off, the Jeep Wrangler being the best example. But then you have vehicles like the 2014 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, which was so ugly and terrible that it was sometimes genuinely difficult to believe it really existed. So the latest news from Mercedes-Benz that the company might be considering a convertible SUV is potentially troubling. Although there is actually a precedent for it.
Mercedes had a convertible SUV for decades, one which the company only just stopped selling in 2013. This was a topless version of the G-Class, designed with military applications in mind, but also available as a civilian model. But the source of the rumor was some remarks made by Wolf-Dieter Kurz, Mercedes-Benz’s VP of sports cars and SUVs. And his take was that there might be a market for a convertible SUV, but not a revived G-Class convertible. That means something new, and that is what is so terrifying about the whole prospect, as the chances of getting it horribly wrong seem pretty high.
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Why it matters
The decision of whether or not to build such a vehicle will depend largely on if Mercedes can make it work in China, for the simple reason that it can already be pretty safely assumed that nobody else is going to buy it. As Kurz put it, convertible SUVs are a “very slim niche.” China isn’t wild about convertibles in general, but it is a unique market, so maybe a convertible SUV will be a different story. It doesn’t seem all that likely, but Mercedes is riding high on a wave of exceptionally good SUV sales in the recent past, so examining other options within the lineup is understandable.