44 years after the launch of the now legendary Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the 500,000th model has rolled off the production line in Graz, Austria. To mark this production milestone, we interviewed Product Manager Lena Rütten.
The G-Class has been writing its very own success story since 1979. Now, number 500,000 of this off-road icon has left the production line in Graz, Austria. It’s a figure that at the same time underscores its exclusivity as it took more than four decades to reach this important milestone. The commemorative one-off takes us back to its roots – with vintage looks evocative of the 280 GE from one of the very first model years.
In our interview, Lena Rütten, Product Manager from the G-Class individualisation department, talks us through the details that make number 500,000 so special and why the success of the off-road legend endures to this day.
Lena, please introduce yourself to the community. Who are you and what’s your job in relation to the G-Class?
My name is Lena Rütten and, as Product Manager in G-Class individualisation, I am responsible for new individualisation ranges and the expansion of the G manufaktur portfolio. One part of my job is to make the G-Class into an even more exclusive one-off for our customers.
Half a million vehicles produced in more than four decades. The G-Class is certainly not a mass-produced item – yet more or less any child in kindergarten could draw its silhouette. How did the G-Class become this timeless icon?
Many design elements of the G-Class have remained unchanged since 1979 – such as the spare wheel on the tailgate, the indicator lamps and the interior grab handles. They are distinctive elements of the iconic G-Class design and, as such, are part of what makes it highly recognisable.
G manufaktur offers a wide range of possibilities for individualising the G-Class. How many options were available when the off-road icon first came to market in 1979?
Back then there were five standard paint colours to choose from. One of those was the agave green used on the 500,000th G-Class. Nowadays, there are 29 paint colours offered by G manufaktur alone. The full range has no fewer than 40 colours. Since the launch of G manufaktur in 2019, we’ve travelled a long and colourful road. And not just for the exterior! Our customers can choose from a wide range of colours, styles and extras for the interior as well. It means every G-Class can be designed individually and to personal tastes, which is hugely enjoyable for me, personally.