Detroit auto show: Mercedes strikes up the band for small SUV

January 13, 2008

Mercedes came back to Motown after its divorce from Chrysler and brought along a band of German musicians.

mercedessuv.jpgIn a former car dealership turned into the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Mercedes star, a concept small sports utility vehicle dubbed the GLK Freeside (pictured left), was suspended high in the sky by a crane at a media event Saturday night ahead of the Detroit Auto Show. Liveried assistants gave guests the red-carpet treatment and champagne flowed freely.

The Palast Orchestra of Max Raabe played songs in German and English from the roaring ’20s with brass and violin, including “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” and more modern renderings like “Sex Bomb” and “Oops! … I Did It Again.”

One hundred years after Mercedes brought its first car to the U.S., Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche (pictured below) said the German automaker wants to report record U.S. sales again, for the 15th straight year in 2008. To achieve that goal, Mercedes will have six model renewals and two new models – a coupe and the GLK ‘small’ SUV.zetsche.jpg

Diesel BlueTec technology should make the GLK SUV relatively green so it can be sold in all American states, including the one with the toughest emission rules and the ‘most muscular governor’ as Zetsche described California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Photos: Reuters

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