DaimlerChrysler Escalates War of the SUVs

Giant SUV based on German military transport to be sold in US by Freightliner.

Published: 22-Feb-2001

With sport utility vehicles becoming bigger and bigger, perhaps it was inevitable: Freightliner, the nation's biggest maker of 18-wheelers, plans to start selling a four-wheel-drive vehicle that dwarfs even the largest family vehicles on the road.

Based on a German military transport, the vehicle, called the Unimog, makes even the Hummer look petite. It is 9 feet 7 inches tall, nearly the height of a basketball net and almost three feet taller than the tallest sport utility. Its front seat, mounted six feet high, is reached by a three-step ladder.

The Unimog is 20 feet long, more than a foot longer than the Ford Excursion, the longest sport utility on the market now. And it is nearly two feet wider than a typical car and 3.5 inches wider than even a Hummer, a General Motors vehicle based on an American military transport. The Unimog is so wide that, by federal regulation, it must carry truck marker lights across the top of the front and back.

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