MERCEDES-BENZ Designs Signature Edition R-class For Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key To The Cure

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MONTVALE, NJ – In conjunction with the launch of its much-anticipated new R-Class luxury sports tourer, Mercedes-Benz designed 750 exclusive Signature Edition R-Class vehicles to help raise funds for Saks Fifth Avenue’s KEY TO THE CURE, a women’s cancer initiative developed in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and its Women’s Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). Since joining the KEY TO THE CURE campaign three years ago, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has donated over $2 million toward finding new detection methods, treatments and cures for women’s cancers. MBUSA expects to raise an additional $1 million this year through the sale of the Signature Edition R-Class.

Set to go on sale in the fall, this progressive sports tourer combines out-of-the-box design elements and innovative technology to create a new generation of luxury sports tourer that delivers unprecedented comfort, performance and style. A new kind of Mercedes-Benz, the R-Class combines the power of a fine sports sedan, the performance and traction of a luxury sport utility vehicle, and the versatility of a wagon. From its futuristic design to interior space and unparalleled performance, the R-Class is a vehicle in a class of its own.

“Through our philanthropic initiatives, we focus on education and empowerment,” said Paul Halata, president & CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA. “By partnering with Saks Fifth Avenue on KEY TO THE CURE, we have a unique opportunity to build awareness of a critical issue that affects so many of our family, friends and loved ones. Mercedes-Benz is proud to offer this special R-Class fleet to help raise funds for women’s cancer research and to show women that we appreciate their business by supporting causes that are important to them.”

At the pinnacle of progressive design, the Signature Edition R-Class is distinctive both inside and out. The exterior, which takes front and rear design cues from the Mercedes-Benz sedan and coupe line-up, is elegant and sophisticated – with a long, sloping profile and stylish accent lines running the length of the body. Inside the cabin, the R-Class can accommodate up to six adults with three pairs of individual bucket seats in a spacious interior, with seats in both rear rows that can each be folded down flat. An elongated panoramic sunroof provides an unprecedented sense of interior space.

Powered by a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine or the 302-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 engine, the Signature Edition R-Class performs like a fine sports sedan. The sports tourer features a seven-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4-wheel drive, Pewter metallic paint with a black leather interior, 19” alloy wheels, Alcantara-trimmed sport seats, sporty aluminum interior trim and DVD navigation.

“Everyone here at Saks Fifth Avenue is thrilled to be contributing to this incredible cause in this, our seventh year of continued support in finding a cure for all women’s cancers,” said Fred Wilson, Chairman & CEO, Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises. “With the help of our partners Mercedes-Benz USA, the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund, designer Diane von Furstenberg, and actress Hilary Swank, this year’s shopping event will fund innovative cancer research that will revolutionize diagnostic and testing procedures, and change the future of all women’s cancers.”

Funds raised for KEY TO THE CURE will benefit multiple organizations and programs including: EIF’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund, New York’s Mt. Sinai, Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai, Boston’s Gillette Center, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, among others. During Saks Fifth Avenue’s KEY TO THE CURE nationwide shopping weekend (Oct. 28-29, 2005), the Signature Edition R-Class will be available at Mercedes-Benz dealerships and will also be displayed at Saks Fifth Avenue stores. A percentage of Saks’ shopping weekend sales will be donated to national and local breast and women’s reproductive cancer research centers.

The 2005 celebrity ambassador for the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund, actress Hilary Swank, has also joined the KEY TO THE CURE campaign. Swank will appear in a national public service announcement (PSA) wearing the limited edition T-shirt specially designed by Diane von Furstenberg exclusively to benefit Saks Fifth Avenue’s KEY TO THE CURE. The PSA will appear in major fashion and lifestyle magazines the Fall.

In addition to its commitment to Saks Fifth Avenue’s KEY TO THE CURE, MBUSA supports select charitable organizations oriented around educating and empowering future generations, particularly those who are underserved. One of the new initiatives, created by MBUSA in collaboration with Scholarship America, is DRIVE YOUR FUTURE: The Mercedes-Benz USA Scholarship Program which aims to provide educational opportunities to college-bound high school students. This year, $1 million in funding will be awarded to 500 students nationwide who are the first in their families to go to college. For more information, please visit:

MBUSA supports charitable organizations on a national and local basis and involves employees in hands-on volunteer activities. Through a variety of corporate sponsorships, charitable giving, diversity relations programs, community events and women’s initiatives, MBUSA strives to impact the communities in which employees live and work. Philanthropic initiatives are reviewed and implemented through MBUSA corporate headquarters in Montvale, N.J. and through six regional offices around the country.

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Zerin Dube

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