Mercedes-Benz established segment for premium compact roadsters with its SLK in 1996
SLK remains market leader in core market of Western Europe
New generation is even sportier with less fuel consumption
Stuttgart - With the delivery of the 500,000th vehicle since its market launch in 1996, Mercedes-Benz has now reached another milestone with the successful SLK compact roadster. All in all, about 310,000 customers opted for a model from the first generation of this dynamic two-seater, and its successor has now sold 190,000 units since its market launch in March 2004.
“With the launch of the SLK in 1996, Mercedes-Benz successfully established the premium segment for compact roadsters. Thanks to innovative technology such as the vario-roof and the neck-level heating system AIRSCARF, the SLK has long been recognized as a cult car of modern times,” expains Dr. Klaus Maier, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, responsible for Sales and Marketing. “The new-generation SLK models, which we are delivering to customers since April 2008, are sportier than ever. I’m confident that the dynamic looks and performance of the new SLK will again set pulses racing among sports cars enthusiasts around the world.”
In Western Europe, by far the most important sales market for the SLK, the two-seater was once again the market leader for its segment in 2007. The compact roadster enjoys the greatest popularity in Germany, with over one-third of all SLK drivers coming from the home market of the brand with the star. The rest of Western Europe accounts for a further one-third of sales. Moreover, one in every five SLK customers comes from the U.S. The most popular model among customers is the SLK 200, which is selected by half of all SLK owners worldwide and by more than two-thirds in Germany. Also in strong demand is the SLK 280, which is driven by over one-quarter of all SLK owners.
The new-generation SLK, which celebrated its world premiere at the Detroit Motor Show in January, inspires imagination especially with its sportier looks and the promise of an even more emotional driving experience. The most important changes in the vehicle’s appearance include redesigned front and back views, as well as a carefully modified interior, featuring a new combination instrument panel and a three-spoke steering wheel. Three enhanced engines underscore the two-seater’s dynamic character. Engineers have devoted particular attention to the V6 sports engine. Despite a considerable increase in power in some instances, all the engines use significantly less fuel. For example, the SLK 350 with manual transmission consumes 1.1 liters per 100 kilometers less than its predecessor, despite an added 33 horsepower, for a new total of 305 horsepower.
If desired, the SLK is also available with the newly developed direct-steer system and new-generation audio and telematics features. Like its predecessor, the latest SLK is manufactured in the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant, the brand’s center of excellence for its open-top vehicles.