• Jun 23, 2010
2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class – Click above for high-res image gallery

As it turns out, you have to do a little more than build the Mercedes-Benz R-Class in order to get buyers to come take them off of your hands. Since the big Silver Arrow crossover first sauntered onto the scene back in 2005, Mercedes-Benz has done very little advertising, and as a result, consumers can't quite figure out what to make of the vehicle. According to Automotive News, that may be about to change. The company says that it will spend up to 15 percent of its total fall advertising budget on spots for the luxury people mover.

The ads will be geared toward wooing young families and will crop up during shows like CSI and Grey's Anatomy as two 15-second spots – one at the beginning of the commercial break and one at the end. Beyond that, we're not exactly sure what to expect from the commercials.

The move is part of a concerted effort to turn R-Class sales figures around. By May of this year, Mercedes-Benz had only managed to move a paltry 1,223 of the crossovers off of the lot. With a fresh face and plenty of advertising bucks headed toward the R, the German automaker says it hopes to see a double-digit percent sales increase compared to current numbers.



Photos by Zach Bowman / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Automotive News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      We love our R Class. From SF we can get to LA on one tank of gas. We can carry 1000's of lbs of material (when we pick up from a job site). It is comfortable. And most importantly it definitely saved my mothers life when we got hit by a drunk driver at a combined speed of almost 100mph.

      The sad part is that you can't get an R500 anymore. We've driven the R350 and it does not compare to the R500. It is a heavy car and needs the big engine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Guys, I'm glad you both love 1970s ergonomics. However, it's 2010, and there really is no excuse for bad ergonomics in this day and age. Lights and wiper should be separate. Cruise control should be toward the bottom of the wheel. Column shifters should simply be gone.

        Me, I like it when gauges and controls are automatically understood like in BMW / Subaru. Straightforward console shifters, hand-operated parking brakes, clearly-readable gauges, switchgear placed where the hand naturally falls.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ John H

        I love that the BMW/Mercedes/Ferrari body shop had to buy special grinders and drills because the steel was so hard that it broke their normal equipment. They said it was the hardest steel they ever had to work on in a car.

        I love the space - that instead of driving a pickup I can drive this and get almost equal utility. 6.5' long bed space.

        I love that I can cram in corporate visitors from Europe, open the roof and give them a beautiful tour of our city.

        I love that it stands out / makes an impression.

        I love that I don't care about RPM's as it is an automatic and thus this also takes care of the 'wunder stick ' issue. Also, the steering wheel has paddle like buttons for those that are shift happy.

        I love how well the bluetooth setup works.

        I love that I press a button in the car, within 60min a Mercedes tech shows up to work on the car & will have loaner for me if the car needs to be taken in.

        I love that it is over 6000lbs GVW for tax purposes.

        I love that it gets such a visceral reaction from people like you.... which means it is making an impression. Not just another 3 series on the road.

        • 4 Years Ago
        You love the 1970s ergonomics?
        - steering column shifter?
        - GM wonderstick signal/wiper sitting below the cruise control?
        - foot-operated pedal parking brake?
        - poorly-marked gauges (seriously, rpms by 100s, not 1000s)
        It's a nightmare to drive and touch.

        You love the 1970s bloat & float?

        Really?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ John H.

        What in the hell are you talking about?

        1. If you can't operate the simplistic "wonderstick" then you shouldn't be operating a motor vehicle.
        2. I have no problem with the column shifter. You tap it to put it in park, bump it down to drive, up for reverse. It doesn't get easier than that, you literally have four choices with it that can't be mistaken.
        3. The gauges are marked just like any other vehicle, I have no idea what you are talking about.
        4. I'd venture to say that 70% of all vehicles sold in the US have a foot operated parking brake. It is an automatic after all, why do you need a hand parking brake or how could it even be implemented in a vehicle like this?


        Your comments make NO sense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh my eyes!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed

        BUTT-UGLY. With all design elements they have used - S-class, E-class... The face on this is all they could think of???
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not obviously worse than the new Odyssey or Sienna.

        And I surely wouldn't mind watching a MILF hawking the R-class. OC's practically drowning in sporty, trophy moms who fit the target profile.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Uhmmm.... no one remembers this?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc9SkxgFyXw
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lol. I was going to post a link too. no one remembers this commercial because they looked at it, saw the car, and thought "no thank you" and put it out of their minds....
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, I came here to post that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It really doesn't look very interesting, or beautiful, or intriguing, does it. Bit of a big old dull thing for a lot of money really. I'd rather have sliding rear doors too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If they should have made it look like a tall E Class wagon IMO.
      The clumsy Pacifica derived look is not a plus.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I dont see why someone would buy this over a Odyssey or Sienna....unless like the Merc Badge.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Coming from someone who has likely never driven or been on the inside of one for longer than two minutes.

        • 4 Years Ago
        That still not giving me a reason why you buy this smart ass.

        A mini van is brought mostly because of all the space it has....where is the space in this ?
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I have to get a minivan.. this would be it.. besides, it comes in an R63 AMG model.. nothing like a 500ish HP minivan :)

      • 4 Years Ago
      looks a little better than the last version, which was a coffin on wheels.
      • 4 Years Ago
      looks like a hearse
      • 4 Years Ago
      So it's been out for 5 years, has had no ads run to advertise it it, and M-B is wondering why it hasn't sold very well?

      Really guys?

      I mean I see that M-B can sometimes be rather incompetent, what with the way that they ran Chrysler into the ground, but this is one of their own vehicles. They should care about this one since it has a 3-pointed star on the hood.

      Oh yeah, and this R-class was ugly and this update is no better. Except for the E-class, Mercedes styling, both inside and out, is absolutely in the toilet.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since MB has decided to enter the wonderful world of marketing perhaps they could assess the competition and shape their product offering to not only be competitive but segment leading.

      What percentage of minivans is AWD? Low single digits amongst Toyota. The others have abandoned offering AWD because of the low take rate. Admittedly the competition has FWD standard and for many that is good enough. In the UK there are 2 models withe the cheapest being a shorter wheelbase, RWD with a 190hp diesel and it's the biggest seller. OK, US is big on RWD, the UK is big on RWD and what does MB offer in the US? Only long wheelbase and AWD which also keeps the list price up (they do offer a RWD ML, go figure). Were MB to offer a choice like they do in the UK it would allow customers the opportunity to match their needs and their pocketbook to what is available.

      The R-class is built in Alabama and was designed in two sizes from the beginning. The shorter version at 194" OAL is still competitive with the Odyssey/Sienna/T&C at 200-202". The long version is the biggest of all at 204". Why not offer the R-class in both wheelbases? You have the American competition bracketed with existing products you make in the US.

      Lastly, isn't it time for MB to drop the schizophrenic persona? MB is a car maker which makes quality cars in all sizes. In Europe this fact is accepted as is the practice whereby buyers order cars to order. Most options where possible are available singly as the buyer wishes. In summary MB makes a broad line of cars whose build specifications are subject to substantial customization by European buyers.

      In the US MB tries to exude misplaced air of luxury and sophistication. To this end the variety of platforms, powertrains and options are strictly limited. Accordingly cars are delivered most often from dealer stocks. I find the American approach counterintuitive: shouldn't luxury involve customization to the buyers wants? The MBUSA interpretation of luxury is a forced choice amongst the most expensive models, built with the most expensive powertrains, options that are limited to "much" and "way too much" and all to be delivered from dealer stock.

      The present state of automotive manufacture actually allows a broad variety of cars to be built without incurring any additional costs. Someday one of the car makers will decide to utilize that ability to deliver bespoke vehicle at various price points. The rationalization of dealer stocks will suffer but the buyers will be happy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Adding a "base" 3.0l RWD SWB R-class entry model surely wouldn't hurt meager US sales.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We can only hope that changes, though I seriously doubt it will. The trend in this country has been moving away from customization. Now everything is in "option packages", wherein you're forced to get the mahogany road flare rack and redline tires because you wanted the floor mats. I had one dealer tell me he couldn't sell me a new car with both a manual transmission and a sunroof, since one was a "sports package item" and another was a "luxury package item". The higher end European brands seem to be among the worst in this regard.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lovely minivan, you can carry a lot of stuff in it, like your ego and such.

      Bottom line is this is a minivan, like Caravan, Sienna, Odessy and others, the only difference is those are cheaper, more practical, have sliding doors and they do not have a 3 point star on the hood.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Of the above, the "3-pointed star" is what you're paying most for.

        Really, as an owner, I think the R-class is pretty horrible as a minivan, or even as a car, but if it keeps the missus happy, well...

        Fix the driver ergonomics, nip the Dumbo doors, and button down the suspension a bit, and this would be passable.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The R class, somewhat like the older pacificas, fills a space between wagons and minivans. Wagon not big enough, minivan a bit to big?

        @dan agreed
        • 4 Years Ago
        In exactly the same way that an S class is just a more expensive and less practical. Camry.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And with the price difference you could buy one of those cheaper more practical alternatives you mentioned and either buy a used sports car, or a nice downpayment on a new one.
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