How much segment fragmentation is too much? When it comes to the world of SUVs, luxury automakers have gone wild in recent times with new segment-splitting models - with BMW being one of the most prolific.
But Mercedes-Benz isn’t shying away from that game either. According to UK magazine Auto Express the German automaker recently registered the GLB name, which could indicate its intent to plug the gap between its GLA entry-level SUV and the GLC midsizer (below).
Benz's willingness to explore new vehicle categories is also evident in the already-announced GLC Coupe and GLE Coupe
Such a model would likely be based on the transverse-engined B-Class platform (itself a stretched version of the A-Class’s underpinnings) and offer more interior space - particularly in the second row - than the GLA. Engines and powertrains would probably mirror those of the GLA range.
However, this isn’t the first time Mercedes has demonstrated an interest in the GLB name. The company filed a trademark on “GLB” and “GLB-Class” with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2010, so it’s clear that a SUV counterpart for the B-Class (below) has long been a part of Benz’ s SUV strategy.
Either that, or the company was simply “ring-fencing” names to ensure other automakers didn’t step on its turf - at the time, Mercedes would have been planning the nomenclature revamp that has seen models like the ML-Class and GL-Class renamed to GLE and GLS respectively.
Expect more solid details of the GLB to surface next year, with a possible market introduction in 2018.