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The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec Diesel will be on display at the GCLA Expo on Tuesday, Sept. 20 in Orange County, Calif.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — With Lincoln Town Car production closed out Aug. 31, the chauffeured transportation industry this month officially enters a period with many alternatives vying for operator attention.
The annual vehicle Expo of the Greater California Livery Association to be held Sept. 20 will be the first major industry event to feature most serious livery vehicle contenders announced to date. In fact, the only automaker without a new livery vehicle there will be Cadillac, which debuts its livery version of the Cadillac XTS to the industry at the start of the 2012 International LCT Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 13, 2012. Cadillac, however, will be displaying its Escalade SUV.
As of this week, the GCLA has confirmed at least 25 different sedan, SUV, bus and van models available for operator browsing and comparison at the Expo, which will be held at the Newport Dunes Back Bay Bistro in Newport Beach, Calif. The event is expected to draw guests from the East Coast as well.
“Every vehicle you could possibly purchase will be there,” GCLA President Mark Stewart told LCT. “These are the choices for the industry all in one location. There is no way you could see so many cars outside of the [ILCT Show]. It’ll probably be the top Expo GCLA has ever done.”
The S350 has the same interior and exterior dimensions as the S550 sedan.
Mercedes-Benz is the exclusive sponsor of the annual event, which draws the highest turnout of any association meeting. Mercedes-Benz plans to unveil a new S350 model sedan for the chauffeured transportation industry after the first one arrives in Southern California on Sept. 19. The luxury sedan joins the automaker’s livery model fleet family that includes the E350 BlueTec, the R350 BlueTec, the S550 sedan, the S400 Hybrid, and various SUV and Sprinter Van models.
The S350 will be the first diesel-powered S-Class in the U.S. market since the 1995 model year, said Frank Gomez, the national accounts manager for the Mercedes-Benz division based in Costa Mesa, Calif. The 2012 S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC all-wheel drive model is powered by a purpose-built 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 240 horsepower, 455 lb.-ft. of torque, and estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway, Gomez told LCT. The S350 and the V-8 S550 sedan will have the exact same interior and exterior dimensions.