The Six Things You Have to Know About the Mercedes Benz ML350
- Everyone knows that Mercedes Benz is a German brand. Indeed, between 1999 and 2002, the M-Class specifically was built near Germany by Magna Steyr-not much of a surprise there. After 2002, however, all production of the ML350 moved to the good old United States. This model and class have since then been made out of Vance in Alabama.
- The "M" in M-Class stands for "Mobility" as Mercedes Benz has designed these luxury sports utility vehicles for "those in control". Now, in the ML350, the "L" is extensively debated. There are many who insist that the "L" stands for "Luxury"-this has been contested because the entire M-class is supposed to embody luxury SUVs. So what is "L"? It stands for "Leicht", the German word for "Light" which is appropriate as the ML350 is a lighter version of the SUVs.
- Originally, Mercedes Benz had set up a joint agreement with Japanese auto manufacturing giant Mitsubishi Motors to develop a sports utility vehicle in 1991. Had those plans pushed through, Mercedes Benz-branded SUVs would have been based off either the Montero or Pajero. The plan was eventually abandoned in 1992 and Mercedes Benz continued on its own to eventually make the ML350 and the rest of the M-Class.
- The ML350 might not be the best selling SUV of all time, but it is an extremely consistent performer on the sales front. From its release in 2001 all the way up to 2011, it has sold at a steady, consistent average of 33,384 units annually-not bad for a luxury ride being sold during one of America's worst recessions.
- In September of 1996, the ML350 was used in the movie, The Lost World-sequel to the hit, Jurassic Park. Jeff Goldblum, the hero of the movie even go a complementary SUV from Mercedes Benz as part of the terms of agreement for the tie in. What made this all amazing was that all this happened a full year before the ML was even released and sold to the public.
- When Top Gear road tested the ML350, presenter Jeremy Clarkson was able to fit his fingers in the gap between the rear lights and rear bumper. Those fingers lead to $600 million overhaul of the Alabama factory which eventually led to great improvements in quality. The funny thing about all this was that the luxury SUV won "Truck of the Year" awards on the same year it happened!