German cars aren’t exactly known for their reliability. Complex designs, expensive parts, and high servicing costs mean they usually don’t last as long as the equivalent Toyota or Honda. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class bucks that trend, with the vast majority built since its introduction in 1979 still on the road today. 

Speaking on expectations for the new electric G-Class, Michael Schiebe, CEO of AMG and head of the G-Class and Maybach business units, expects it to keep up with its gas-powered siblings when it comes to service life.

"80 percent of the G-Classes that were ever produced are still in the market," Schiebe told a group of journalists at a roundtable interview held in France. "The cars have a very long lifetime.

"So here you can calculate [that while] maybe a G-Class needs a little bit more material than [your average] compact car, the durability, if you see the lifetime of a G-Wagen from 1979, I think you [will have had to have driven] driven many, many compact cars, in some cases, to keep up the lifetime of a G-Wagen."

Mercedes built the 500,000th G-Class in 2023, meaning there are still over 400,000 still on the road today, according to the company. For comparison, Porsche says only about 70 percent of 911s produced are still roadworthy. 

Mercedes-Benz 500 GE V8
Mercedes-Benz 500 GE V8

While Schiebe did not reveal what sort of market share Mercedes expects the electric G580 with EQ Technology to claim from the vehicle’s lineup, he’s optimistic both dealers and customers will be satisfied. 

"We try to be a customer-centric company," Schiebe said. "We want to deliver what customers want. And if they demand V-8 engines, then it is our job to supply very efficient and very powerful V-8 engines.

"The new electric [G-Wagen] opens up new opportunities for our dealers,” he added. Customers that we may have not attracted in the past, now we have the opportunity to access them."

The 2025 model year will mark the first time Mercedes-Benz has sold the G-Class in the US with a powertrain other than a V-8 since it was officially added to the American lineup in 2002. In addition to an electric propulsion system, the entry-level G550 has had its twin-turbo V-8 replaced with an turbo inline-six supplemented with mild-hybrid tech.

"We have customers that really love the V-8, Schiebe said. "And they will love the V-8 in the G-Class forever. They can go and continue with the G63. Then we open up [availability] for customers who want to have a very efficient high-performance combustion engine powertrain, the six-cylinder G550. It’s more efficient, it’s more dynamic than its predecessor V-8, this is the right car for them. And then you have the electric one for those who like the shape, look, and feel of the G-Wagen, but say 'nowadays I don’t want to drive a combustion-engine G-Class anymore.'

"So we actually did, from a business perspective, a kind of de-risking strategy."

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