Mercedes-Benz hikes CLA output to ease tight supply

Article by Andrew Christian, on September 16, 2014

German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz has hiked the output capacity for its CLA sedan to ease up tight supplies that have led to limited deliveries. The increased production bodes well for the United States, as the market is bound to receive more CLAs. Mercedes’ Kecskemet site in Hungary already added a third shift of production in May.

The plant built 109,266 cars in 2013 and is slated to produce the station wagon version of the CLA, the CLA Shooting Brake. A spokesman for the carmaker, however, said that Mercedes-Benz USA has "no current plans" to sell the wagon version. Daimler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche told Automotive News in an interview that he expects "a positive reaction" to the increased allocation for the US market.

Mercedes has been targeting a surge in compact vehicle sales. There has been a tight supply of CLAs in the US since spring as dealers were able to sell out the initial allocation. According to Mercedes executives, there were times that supply of CLAs at dealerships dropped to fewer than 10 days.

Zetsche, who admitting knowing supply issues in the US, quipped that Mercedes could have easily sold twice as many vehicles as planned. He said the demand for the CLA in the US beyond Mercedes’ “optimistic expectations.

Mercedes sold 14,113 CLAs in the US in the four months since it was rolled out in 2013. The figure for the first eight months of 2014 was 15,676 units, with sales hitting rock-bottom to 1,214 in May due to supply constraints.

Zetsche remarked that while the demand for the new GLA compact crossover could be similar to that of the CLA, it is still early to say that.

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