Mercedes-Benz’s C-class lineup will soon include a convertible as well as diesel- and hybrid-powered sedans when it is redesigned in 2014. The current C class lineup includes a sedan and a coupe, powered only by gasoline engines. The move is seen to match the C-class with its BMW 3 series rival, which comes in coupe, convertible, station wagon, diesel and hybrid versions.
Mercedes-Benz USA chief executive Steve Cannon told Automotive News in an interview that they were “fighting the 3 series with two arms tied behind our back,” and they will change that by expanding the C-class lineup. Mercedes will roll out the redesigned C-class sedan in August 2014 after unveiling it at the Detroit AutoShow in January.
While BMW remains the leader in the small luxury segment, Mercedes is shaving away its rival’s lead, especially after launching a C-class coupe in the fall of 2011.
Counting only sedan sales, the C class and 3 series are neck-to-neck. Mercedes sold 70,493 C-class sedans while BMW delivered 75,183 3-series sedans in 2012. However, when overall sales in the segment are taken into account, BMW sold 99,602 of the 3 series in 2012, while Mercedes only sold 81,697 of the C class.
BMW redesigned the 3-series sedan for the 2013 model year and will renamed the coupe and convertible as 4 series when they are redesigned for the 2014 model year. Mercedes, meanwhile, plans to launch a redesigned coupe in early 2015. Mercedes will also roll out the C-class convertible in 2015, to be followed by diesel and hybrid variants as well as an all-wheel drive option.
A spokesman for Mercedes said the carmaker will launch the C-class hybrid in 2015. Cannon remarked that the redesigned C-class station wagon, however, will not be available in the United States due to a low expected demand. Mercedes has not offered a wagon version of the C class in the US for over a decade.