If you’re Mercedes-Benz and you’re launching a new version of the legendary Geländewagen in Australia, you probably want to demonstrate how rugged and off-road capable your new truck is. What better way to do so than to pick a trail known to be among the most challenging in the world, like the Canning Stock Route that traverses the unforgiving Australian Outback? Some 1,150 miles long, the Canning Stock Route was used by early 20th century ranchers to get cattle to market. It really hasn’t been improved in the century since, and driving its length is a strain on both driver and machine.
Mercedes-Benz had such confidence in their new G-Wagen that they shipped in seven to drive the Canning Stock Route from end to end in a planned 14 days. The good news is that all seven remained “drivable under their own power;” the bad news is that only one, a heavy-duty version designed for military use made the journey intact. Six of the seven G-Wagens suffered broken rear shock absorbers on the seventh day of the trek, requiring Mercedes to fly replacement parts in on chartered aircraft. The sole survivor was a G-Wagen G-Professional model that Mercedes was considering importing into Australia. I’d say that demonstration proves there’s a a viable market for it down under.