Mercedes-Benz expects GLA to sell quicker than CLA in the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 21, 2014

Mercedes-Benz is expecting the GLA crossover to post a stronger demand than its CLA sibling when it becomes available this fall. Steve Cannon, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA, remarked that such demand would mean there could be shortages of the GLA. The GLA is underpinned by the same platform that underpins the CLA that was launched in September 2013.

CLA has sold faster than Mercedes expected. "Inventory is tight," Cannon said. While Mercedes has yet to disclose the pricing of the GLA, the crossover will be positioned below the GLK crossover, which starts at $38,405, including shipping. The CLA, meanwhile, starts at $30,825 with shipping.

The GLA is expected to be priced higher than the CLA and will be several thousand dollars less than the GLK. The GLA will be initially offered with all-wheel drive and an fwd will be offered later.

Mercedes unveiled the high-performance GLA45 AMG last week at the Detroit auto show. According to Cannon, GLA could be even hotter than the CLA due to the growing demand for premium crossovers.

"Dealers feel there is a lot more potential in that car," he said. The GLK had a conquest rate of more than 60 percent when it was launched in 2009. Cannon expects the GLA's rate to be higher.

On the other hand, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche remarked that Mercedes is seeking ways to increase production for all its new fwd compact cars -- including the A-class and B-class hatchbacks sold in Europe.

The carmaker may add a third shift at its Hungarian site that produces the CLA, but Zetsche said that not much can be done to increase the output of current-generation compacts. "Scarcity is not the worst thing for a product," he remarked, adding that "You do not want to choke your pipeline."

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