Mercedes-Benz M-Class Named North American Truck of the Year

5 January 1998

Mercedes-Benz M-Class Named North American Truck of the Year

New Mercedes Sport Utility Wins Voting by Independent Group of Top Journalists

    DETROIT, Jan. 5 -- A jury of 48 U.S. and Canadian journalists
covering the auto industry has selected the Mercedes-Benz M-Class sport
utility vehicle as the 1998 North American Truck of the Year, it was announced
at the award presentation here today.  Chosen from a field of nominees that
included the latest entries from domestic and import makes, the new M-Class
sport utility got the majority of votes from top automotive writers at
newspapers, news weeklies and enthusiast magazines as well as wire service,
television and radio reporters.
    Michelle Krebs, a jury member and automotive writer for the New York
Times, said, "The Mercedes-Benz ML320 is a standout among premium sport
utilities.  The ML320 provides the most car-like ride of any entry in the
segment and represents a strong value.  Plus it's Mercedes through and
through."
    The first sport utility to garner the super-clean "LEV" low-emission-
vehicle rating, the new M-Class went on sale in the U.S. in September '97 at a
suggested price of $33,950.  Unlike most sport-utilities which are truck-
based, the M-Class features a new-from-the-ground-up design which provides
car-like handling and comfort with impressive off-road performance as well.
Four-wheel independent suspension and a unique four-wheel-drive system with
four-wheel traction control help set the M-Class apart from its competition.
The M-Class is assembled in an all-new manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa,
Alabama.
    Modeled after the prestigious European Car of the Year, the North American
Truck of the Year award comes on top of others which the new M-Class has won
over the past few months.  In October, the M-Class was named Motor Trend
magazine's Truck of the Year, and in November, the M-Class won a "Best of
What's New" accolade from Popular Science magazine.  In December, the new
Mercedes SUV was named the Canadian Car of the Year as well as AAA's "Best New
Sport Utility."  Like the North American Car of the Year, these awards were
the result of extensive driving evaluations and value analysis.
    Mercedes-Benz is one of only two automakers that has won three North
American Car/Truck of the Year awards.  The Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster was
named the North American Car of the Year in 1996, and the C-Class sedan won in
1994 -- the inaugural year for the prestigious award.

SOURCE  Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc.

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