Detroit Auto Show: Mercedes Unveils New Crossover SUV

Michael Walker

The GLE 63 Coupe is part of a trend in which SUVs and crossovers are supplanting traditional sedans

Invoking Detroit's emergence from bankruptcy, Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche introduced a new crossover SUV here Sunday night that he said was indicative of the brand's renaissance of 15 new vehicles launched in the past two years. 

Appearing at the Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit on the eve of the press preview at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, Zetsche introduced the GLE 63 Coupe, a high-performance compact SUV that is part of an overall trend of SUV-style vehicles supplanting the traditional sedan. 

SUVs and crossovers — smaller, sporty SUVs often based on full-sized models — outsold sedans for the first time last year, according to a survey of new car registrations for the first five months of 2014 conducted by analyst IHS Automotive.

Read more CES Preview: Self-Driving Cars, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Integration to Debut

With gas cheap and the U.S. economy in full recovery, automakers are logging unprecedented demand for SUVs and crossovers. Cadillac is having difficulty keeping its refreshed Escalade SUV in stock, while Porsche's new Macan crossover currently has a seven-month wait list for delivery. 

The category is so lucrative that even luxury stalwart Bentley, which is expected to introduce its first SUV this year, is already considering adding an additional crossover to its lineup

Mercedes made waves at last week's CES show in Las Vegas with the unveiling of its self-driving F 015 luxury sedan. The radical car will make an appearance at the Detroit auto show, along with a plug-in hybrid version of the C 350, introduced at Monday evening's event.

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