Mercedes-Benz bets on small cars to boost U.S. sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 16, 2011

For the U.S. market, Mercedes-Benz will add a new lineup of front-wheel-drive compact cars that will start arriving in 2013. It also plans to offer new derivatives of the redesigned C class in 2014 or 2015. For its international market, at least 10 new models will be launched by 2020 as part of a plan to be the world's top-selling luxury-vehicle brand that time.

However, not all of these models will be available in the U.S. For instance, Mercedes-Benz USA will stop bringing in the large station wagons such as the new CLS Shooting Brake or the facelifted C-class wagon simply because sales of these models are not up to par.

Initially, Mercedes-Benz USA didn't want to offer the new three-door coupe built on its fwd compact car platform. However, the automaker changed its mind after early versions of the new compact line were seen by U.S. marketing boss Steve Cannon and a product committee.

The U.S. management decided to offer this model in the U.S. after it saw the sleek design of the Concept A-Class that was introduced at the New York auto show this year. The A-class coupe, which will probably be named the CLC, will begin to sell in 2013 or 2014. However, Mercedes-Benz hasn’t announced a timetable for this model.

Starting in 2013, Mercedes-Benz will be releasing sedan, crossover and five-door wagon/van versions of the next generation of Europe's B class to the U.S. These will be the first fwd cars that the automaker will sell in the U.S. However, the B-class name may not be used on all of these models.

It’s likely that the crossover will be named the GLC and the five-door wagon would be known as the CLC Shooting Brake. The first to appear in U.S. showrooms could be the four-door that was presented at the Frankfurt auto show earlier this year. This car will be available with a new series of 1.6- and 1.8-liter direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline engines. The automaker will offer turbodiesel engines in Europe but it has yet to be confirmed if this will be sold in the U.S. [source: AutoWeek]

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