Mercedes Benz is developing a small SUV positioned below the popular M-class and aimed directly at North American markets. The new SUV is likely to carry the GLK name when it’s launched in Europe around 2008 with US sales delayed until 2009. Mercedes has lost valuable ground to its rival BMW and its X3 SUV, and buyers in the US are primed and ready to move towards smaller vehicles.

According to information from AutoWeek, the GLK will be manufactured in DaimlerChrysler's plant in Bremen, northern Germany. The likely platform will be shared with the next generation C-class with styling expected to follow the lines of the recently launched GL large SUV.

Originally, production was slated to a DC plant in Brazil but the German workers agreed to cut production costs by 100 million euros to win the contract. You may remember that DC’s Juiz de Fora plant in Brazil was scheduled to construct the small ForMore SUV for DC’s Smart car brand but that project was canned due to substantial losses from the small-car brand.