Mercedes-Benz expects GLA to gain more brand customers than CLA

Article by Andrew Christian, on September 29, 2014

Mercedes-Benz is expecting the new GLA compact crossover to capture more entry-level customers than the CLA compact sedan – as it is more functional and more spacious in the rear seats. Bart Herring, general manager of product planning for Mercedes-Benz USA, remarked that while the GLA is as fun and youth-oriented, it also features “a level of usability” that compact sedan doesn’t have.

Both vehicles are underpinned by the same platform. He noted that the compact crossover segment is one of the fastest growing in the United States, and the GLA will face the BMW X1, the Audi Q3 and offerings from volume brands. He expects half of customers from non-luxury brands like those who currently own Toyota, Nissan, Honda sedans.

Edmunds.com has said that compact SUVs -- in which according to Edmunds where compact crossovers belong -- are currently the “hottest-selling vehicles.” Edmunds remarked that the compact SUV segment is now the fourth-largest in the United States – with midsize cars, compact cars and large trucks as larger. Compact SUVs now holds 10.8 percent of the US auto market, compared to just 5.8 percent a decade ago, according to Edmunds.

According to executives at Mercedes, the GLA is in demand where it is now being sold, expecting supplies to be tight. Herring noted that while the German carmaker “has planned” for the anticipated popularity of the GLA, “demand may exceed what [they] have.”

They expect the GLA to attract buyers in their 20s and 30s to the Mercedes brand because of its pricing -- at a base tag of $32,225 for the entry-level, fwd GLA250 -- and modern styling. The now available GLA250 4Matic all-wheel drive version carries a tag of $34,225. The high-performance GLA45 AMG, which is also now available, carries a base price of $49,225.

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