Mercedes joins hunt
The Shooting Brake adds new appeal to the CLS range, writes Stuart Martin
THE search for new niche markets and incremental sales has prompted Mercedes-Benz to green-light production of the CLS Shooting Brake.
A CLS wagon by any other name, the coupe-based five-door concept made its debut at the Auto China motor show in Beijing early this year.
Mercedes-Benz Australia has its hand up for the production version and is aiming for a late 2012 arrival.
Senior corporate communications manager David McCarthy says the company is keen for the car to make it to Australia.
‘‘I don’t see any reason why we won’t get it — it’s CLS platform so right-hand drive shouldn’t be an issue. We think it will be a great addition to the range,’’ he says.
McCarthy says there are no details on whether the car’s name will change.
‘‘The concept car was Shooting Break, SLS is known as Gullwing — it will be referred to as Shooting Brake; if it is officially known as that I don’t know,’’ he says.
The CLS Shooting Brake will go into production in 2012 at the Sindelfingen assembly line, the company’s largest production plant, which already builds the SLS AMG Gullwing, C and S-Class sedan, CL-Class, E and CLS-Class ranges.
The new model will be built on the same production line as the CLS and the E-Class Sedan, a logical move given the trio share a platform.
Australian Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe sales average about 500 a year, according to McCarthy, and there are already 20 orders for the new car, which could top 1000 units a year with the addition of a diesel and the Shooting Brake model.
‘‘I see no reason why it won’t sell at the same rate or higher — the addition of the diesel, I think, will be incremental. It depends on the market health. Shooting Brake, I think, will sell quite well — it’s a car people will buy for the looks,’’ he says.
Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche says the CLS Shooting Brake is the next step into the model segment created by the CLS, which has sold 170,000 globally since its launch.
‘‘In 2004, Mercedes-Benz established a new vehicle segment with the four-door Coupe CLS and created a design icon,’’ he says.
The origin of the term ‘‘Shooting Brake’’ harks back to carriages used to break in wild horses. The vehicles had to restrict the horses’ movements to train them for duties as workhorses, but the damage done in the process meant the carts were expendable.
‘‘Brakes’’ were often equipped with different bodies, including rigs for hunting, hence the shooting reference.
Mercedes says that during the 1960s and 1970s motorised ‘‘ Shooting Breaks’’ were popular in the UK as ‘‘cross-over’’ vehicles.
On target: Australia has its hand up for the CLS Shooting Brake.