The Mercedes-Benz R-Class has never been a hot seller for Daimler. A cross between an SUV and a station wagon, R-Class sales have slowly dipped off the past couple years as Mercedes' crossover and SUV sales built up steam. That’s why it comes as no surprise to us that 2012 will be the last year for the R-Class in the United States.
Since the Tuscaloosa, Alabama-built R-Class went into production in 2005, Mercedes-Benz's crossover and SUV production has expanded immensely. In fact all of Mercedes' SUVs save the uber-expensive military-based G-Class have been outselling the $51,500 R-Class all year. As of March 1st, Mercedes had only managed to sell 293 R-Classes in the U.S. in 2012 – a drop in the bucket when compared to the 3185 GL-Classes, 3606 GLK-Classes, and 7410 M-Classes it's sold over the same time period.
While sales are slow in the U.S., this doesn't mean it’s the end of the line for the R-Class. Mercedes-Benz spokesman Christian Bokich told us that while 2012 may be the last year for the R-Class in the U.S., it will continue to be built in Alabama and sold in other markets where it does very well – like Canada, Mexico, Europe, and (especially) China.
Even with R-Class production dedicated towards international consumption, Mercedes expects its Tuscaloosa plant, which also builds the M-Class and GL-Class "to continue to flourish under the Mercedes-Benz 2020 Strategy." Production lines in Alabama won't be sitting idle either because as we've previously reported, Mercedes plans on building the next-generation C-Class right here in the States, as well as a yet-to-be named additional model.