Australian Outback cripples fleet of Mercedes G-Wagens during PR event

We've got to hand it to Mercedes-Benz. The Australian arm of the German automaker was so convinced that its iconic G-Wagen is one of the world's most capable off-road vehicles, it decided to stage a demonstration run that would have seven of its boxy SUVs traveling from Halls Creek in Western Australia to Wiluna – a distance of 1,150 miles.

As it turned out, the distance, though definitely a long way to go in the wild's of Australia in just 14 days, wasn't the real issue encountered by the intrepid group of drivers. You see, the trip was organized along the historic Canning Stock Route, which was created at the beginning of the 20th Century as a way to get cattle from remote ranches in Kimberly to Perth, where it could then be sold.

Suffice it to say that driving cattle along the Canning Stock Route was a treacherous undertaking, and deaths were not uncommon. Today, the Route is considered one of the world's greatest adventures and can only be tackled by serious four-wheel-drive machinery. Like the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, right?

Well, sorta. As MB Australia found out the hard way, no amount of planning can guarantee a successful journey, as six out of its seven G-Wagons have been crippled by broken rear shock absorbers seven days into the drive. The lone undamaged vehicle is actually a specially modified military-spec vehicle called the G-Professional that the German automaker is considering importing into Australia... might not be a bad idea, eh?

For their part, MB's reps are taking the damage in stride. While all machines remained drivable (of course, that term just means the machine is capable of moving under its own power...), new shocks were flown in on chartered airplanes at significant cost. Sounds like there's absolutely no way in the Australian Outback Hell that this demonstration drive will end up a failure.

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