Mercedes-Benz exec reveals why Chinese society demands 7 seats in a car

Mercedes-BenzThe Mercedes-Benz GLB.
  • Mercedes-Benz introduced the GLB compact SUV concept at the 2019 Shanghai auto show.
  • The GLB is a seven-seat compact crossover SUV. According to Mercedes, the Chinese market demands sevens seats in a crossover, even if it’s of the compact variety.
  • Mercedes-Benz sales boss Britta Seeger told reporters at the 2019 New York auto show that its demand is driven by the fact that several generations of a single family will often live together. Which means they will often need to travel together in one car.
  • The production version of the GLB is expected to go on sale in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This month, Mercedes-Benz introduced the GLB compact SUV concept at the 2019 Shanghai auto show. The GLB is a thinly veiled concept version of the eponymous production SUV that will reach showrooms in 2020.

At 182 inches long, the GLB is roughly the same size as a Honda CR-V and slightly smaller than its big brother, the Mercedes GLC crossover SUV.

Read more: Volkswagen’s US CEO explains why he thinks America is ready for a small pickup truck again.

In spite of its somewhat diminutive size, Mercedes will offer the GLB seating for seven passengers spread over three rows. One of the driving factors for this decision was demand from the Chinese market.

Mercedes Benz GLB ConceptMercedes-Benz

According to Britta Seeger, the member of the board of management at parent company Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz car sales, Chinese demand for three-row seating is a product of its societal structure.

“It is essential in China where that we offer the GLB as a seven-seater,” Seeger told reporters at the 2019 New York Auto Show. “You know why the Chinese are demanding the seven seaters in the different aspects? That’s really interesting because they have different life situation because they are living together with the one-child policy.”

Mercedes Benz GLB conceptMercedes-BenzHere’s the GLB’s third row.

Seeger added, “If you calculate, they bring all people into one car; this is why they are just asking for the seven-seaters – you have four grandparents, two parents, and one child.”

It’s unclear if the GLB will keep its three-row layout when it comes stateside. It’s not completely unheard for compact crossovers to boast three rows. The Mitsubishi Outlander and the Volkswagen Tiguan both offer seating for seven. However, the third rows on these crossovers are only fit for short trips or for children.

Mercedes Benz GLB conceptMercedes-Benz

As for the GLB, the compact crossover concept delivers a brawny square-jawed look that’s both athletic and stylish. It’s powered by a 224 horsepower, 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine sending power to all four wheels through an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. The interior is decked out in nappa and nubuk leather as well as chestnut and walnut wood trim.

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