The Mercedes-Benz G-Class or G-Wagen, short for Geländewagen (orcross-country vehicle), is a four-wheel drive vehicle / sport utility vehicle
(SUV) produced by German automaker Mercedes-Benz. Designed to be a durable,
reliable, and rugged off-roader, the G-wagen is characterized by its boxy
styling and body-on-frame construction. It utilizes three fully locking
differentials, one of the few vehicles to have such a feature.
Mercedes-Benz secured military contracts for the vehicle in the late 1970s and
offered a civilian version in 1979. A major reason to start development was the
need of the German Army for a light military vehicle. Without any joint test the
cheaper Volkswagen Iltis were chosen, but since 1990 it is replaced by the
G-Class "Wolf" and LAPV Enok. After a design change to a civilian cross-country
vehicle in co-operation with the Austrian car manufacturer
Steyr-Daimler-Puch, production of the G-Class began in 1979 with the 460
Series models. The G-Class has been sold under the Puch name in certain
markets, and the Peugeot P4 is a variant made under license, with a Peugeot
engine and different parts.
Despite the introduction of an intended replacement, the unibody crossover SUV
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class in 2006, the G-Class is still produced and is expected to
continue in production until 2015.
The G-Wagen was developed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch and first offered for sale in
1979 and redesigned in 1990/1991. A new version was expected for 2007, but the
new GL-Class will not replace the G-Wagen, and it will continue to be hand-built
in Graz, Austria at an annual production of 4,000 to 6,000 units. In February
2009, Magna Steyr, an operating unit of Magna International, announced that it
signed an agreement with Daimler AG to extend the production of the
Mercedes-Benz G-Class at Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria until 2015. Besides the
production, the further development of the G-Class by Mercedes-Benz is also
located in Graz since 1992.