Soft spot for the G-wagon
a civilian version we would be holding a considerable number of orders.
‘‘We’re scoping that with MagnaSteyr in Graz, Austria.’’
Benz has won a major defence contract with the G-Wagon and is working on a civilian version of the standard four-wheel-drive model.
It will also re-introduce the luxury G-Wagon — complete with leather and wood in the cabin — early in the next year.
‘‘The first few vehicles, which are the G350 and G55, will be here some time in November,’’ McCarthy says.
‘‘It’s very small numbers. The first cars for customers will be in the new year.’’
McCarthy says the focus is shifting to the potential for extra civilian sales.
‘‘The vehicles are suitable for mining, farming, firefighting, that sort of thing. We’ll have an evaluation cabchassis and station wagon here soon and we’re talking to Austria about the six-wheeler,’’ McCarthy says.
The four-wheel drive is looking good, but it’s the full-on heavy artillery which needs more work.
‘‘We’ve had discussions with mining companies and others, and they are very interested in the vehicle,’’ he says. ‘‘But this is by no means a done deal. We need to make a business case.
‘‘We have to find out if they can make a civilian version at a price and specification to meet the customers’ needs. It’s fair to say there is very strong interest in this vehicle.
‘‘Not just for its off-road ability but for its durability, safety and its capabilities. It’s a bit of a flexible platform, and there is local involvement in the body modules, so there is huge potential. We just need to make a business case.’’
The military six-wheeler is being tested with the four-wheeler in Australia, Germany and Austria so that deliveries can start next year. The plan is to have 1200 in the Australian Defence Force by the end of 2013.
Mean machine: while the Australian Defence Force tests the six-wheeled G-wagon (left), a civilian four-wheel G-wagon is on the way (above).