Mercedes GLB Coming Much Sooner Than Expected

Crossover

Care to guess where it'll be made? 'Cause it's not Germany.

Mercedes opened another chapter in the relentless expansion of its crossover lineup when it unveiled the GLB concept at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show last week. And it's wasting little time in putting it into production.

In an article published on the official Daimler blog, the Silver Star automaker revealed that it will begin manufacturing the GLB before this year is up, which tells us that the project was already much further along than most concepts are at the time of their unveiling. It also announced where it'll be built, and no – it's not in Germany.

In fact it won't be built in Europe at all, and it won't be manufactured at the company's main crossover plant in Alabama, either. Instead it'll be assembled in two locations: one in Mexico (from which the North American market will source its supply), and another in China (for the ever-hungry local market).

The Mexican plant isn't even completely Daimler's. The facility in Aguascalientes is a 50:50 joint venture between the German automaker and its partners at the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (which itself has been under threat since its top executive Carlos Ghosn was arrested for alleged financial misdealings).

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Once production commences and the GLB starts arriving in showrooms, it'll join Mercedes' crossover lineup near the bottom end of the range, slotting above the GLA and below the GLC (not to mention the larger-still GLE, GLS, and G-Class, and coupe-styled slantback versions of the GLC and GLE). It'll make for a decidedly boxier, more rugged-looking member of the company's similarly expanding small-car family alongside the A-Class and CLA, as well as the B-Class and the liftgate-tailed versions of the A-Class (hatchback) and CLA (shooting brake) that we don't get here.

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