By contrast, Mercedes wised up in the early 1990s to transforming the G-Class from a workhorse akin to the Defender to a luxury off-roader that was capable on all terrains but also appealed to decadent buyers around the world.
Although the Defender’s sales exceeded the G-Class’s when it ended production in January 2016, the average Defender sold for less than half the price of the average G-Class, so the Merc’s profit margins were more business friendly. The Defender also faced increasingly stringent safety and emissions rules that made continuing its production a challenge.
For all those reasons, the G-Class has managed to carry on where the Defender didn’t. Just last month, we saw a G-Class run-out special, ensuring the current iteration of the off-roader milks everything it can before the new one arrives.
There’s a lot of potential for the next Defender, due in 2019, but key to its future success is its ability to be profitable in the way that the G-Class has. Until then, Germany reigns supreme.