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A Mercedes exec believes that the company could produce more SUV variants, and he thinks that the idea behind the R-Class might be one worth giving another chance.

To prove that the minivan has never truly deserved to be relegated to soccer mom status, we've compiled a list of some of the coolest minivans to ever hit the market.

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The R-Class may be produced in the US, but though it's not available here any more, it hasn't been killed off entirely. It's still available in China, but now Mercedes has awarded the manufacturing contract to AM General in South Bend, IN.

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It happens every year. We bid adieu to some cars and trucks that will be missed, and say good riddance to others wondering how they stayed around so long. Whether they're being killed off for slow sales or due to a new product coming along to replace them, the list of vehicles being discontinued after 2012 is surprisingly long and diverse.

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After years of lackluster sales, Mercedes-Benz is finally pulling the plug on the company's R-Class, at least as far as sales in the United States go. The vehicle will continue to be manufactured at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and exported to markets around the globe.

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Where there are winners, there are inevitably losers. Last year was exceedingly kind to big pickups, sprawling family sedans and SUVs, but not every model came out of 2011 with big sales figures. We took the time to dig through the low-selling models of the past 12 months to find out which vehicles produced throughout the year were the biggest duds. Since we aren't interested in how few Lamborghini Aventador models rolled off of dealer lots in the U.S. in 2011, we kept the MSRP under $100,000.

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Nearly 7,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles are being recalled for potentially leaky fuel filters. Included under the recall are diesel (read: Bluetec) versions of the 2011 E-Class, GL-Class, M-Class, and R-Class, as well as the 2012 S-Class.

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Tornadoes are wreaking havoc in the southern United States, causing Mercedes-Benz and Toyota to put the brakes on production at each of their respective Alabama manufacturing facilities. Mercedes-Benz builds GL-Class, M-Class and R-Class vehicles in Tuscaloosa, while Toyota's Huntsville plant produces V6 and V8 engines for the Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks and the Sequoia sport utility vehicle.

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2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class - Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2010 Lincoln MKZ - Click above for a high-res image gallery

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The R-Class won a design award, went on tour with the Rolling Stones, was dropped in price, and still sold so poorly that Mercedes admitted the car was a failure. Yet M-B head man Dieter Zetsche said the car isn't going away, so as one does with continuing product, the R-Class is getting some face and tail work done. Those who whisper about such things indicate that the car will end up looking more like the B-Class. We're not sure that will help it, since it looks much like the B-Class already a

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After selling only 18,168 samples of their R-Class in 2007, even after dropping the base price by $5,000, Mercedes will try taking the uber-wagon downmarket in 2008.

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