In the next five years, Mercedes-Benz USA anticipates a 30% sales increase with the arrival of a new family of small vehicles and future derivatives of its compact C-class sedan.
In an interview, CEO Ernst Lieb said that opportunities for growth are limited for Mercedes' larger E- and S-class cars. That is why the company is aiming to compete in smaller segments.
He said that while the market isn't expected to grow by a huge rate and could stay at just 13 or 14 million, he expects that the majority of these buyers will be from that lower segment.
With 68,826 units sold, Mercedes' US sales are up 26% through April. For the entire 2009, the company sold 190,538 vehicles in the US.
Beginning 2012, Mercedes plans to make a blast in the small-car segment, with the release of three vehicles -- a coupe, crossover and sedan. These will be based on a new generation of the B class sold in Europe.
When the redesigned C class gets launched in 2013, Mercedes will add a convertible and there will likely be other variants.
A coupe based on the current C class will go on sale next year. Lieb said that Mercedes would need to be in this segment and below it if it wants to grow. Rival BMW has a 3-series sedan, coupe, convertible and station wagon.[via autonews - sub. required]