Mercedes-Benz preparing to launch 4 compact models in US

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 24, 2011

In the next three years, Mercedes-Benz will launch four compact vehicles in the U.S. that will be priced from $30,000 or lower. The list includes a production version of the A-class coupe concept that was displayed recently at the New York auto show. The three are variants of Mercedes' new-generation compact family.

According to insiders, these cars are: a small van that will likely be electric; a small sedan named the CLC; and a small crossover dubbed the GLC.

Mercedes-Benz hesitated about bringing the A class to the U.S. but a few months ago, this decision was reversed after early versions of the new compact line were viewed by a product committee and marketing chief Steve Cannon.

Ernst Lieb, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, said that the deciding factor was the marked difference between the new-generation A class and the current A class sold in Europe. He clarified that the A class has a “very European design” that didn’t appeal to customers in North America but they see a “huge potential” in this new car. The C class is currently the lowest-priced Mercedes, which is priced at $34,865, including freight.

With a ground clearance that is around 18 cm less than that of its predecessor, the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is able to convey both dynamism and style. It inherits the radical form language that was first unveiled through the A-Class Concept, exuding it in the most respectable manner. This gave rise to the so-called two-box design with its own attributes, an emotional exterior and a high-quality interior. The new A-Class features an exterior with defined edges and outstanding harmony between concave and convex surfaces – an interplay that results to a distinct play of light, which is most notable along the sides of the A-Class.

Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz, remarked that translating the new Mercedes-Benz style into the compact class was a challenge that was a “great fun to tackle." He noted that the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is the most progressive car in its segment with its character lines on the exterior and the new dynamic styling in the interior.

On the front end, the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is still specified with a pronounced V-shape, the radiator grille with central Mercedes star, two slats to either side of the star, the separate headlamps, and extra air intakes on the sides. Moreover, the side profile features a "dropping line" that dissolves towards the front end of the A-Class. Its headlamps feature a unique design as well as a light function configuration that is considered one of the key elements of the concept.

Both the LEDs and the light modules behind the headlamp cover glass were laid out to create the so-called "flare effect" for the daytime driving lights and indicators. This flare is made up of the feature line within the headlamp, the bulb sets for the indicators and the LED modules for the daytime running lamps – all providing the front end with a signature lively appearance.

A pronounced balance of aerodynamics and dynamic design is clearly noted on the roof, which boasts of smooth surfaces and arcing curve. On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class features a silhouette that exposes flowing lines that end in a flat edge.

Moreover, it features a beltline that rises to the rear, thereby resulting to a pronounced wedge-shape. It is fitted with a roof spoiler that does not only conceal all the aerials, but also gives structure and a sense of sportiness to the roof assembly. Its sides are marked by sculptural side panels and crisp lines. Likewise, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class features a front structural edge plunging in a gentle arc towards the rear. Its well-shaped shoulder muscles are positioned above the rear axle to help highlight the coupé-like character of the A-Class.

Just in front of the rear wheel arch is a sweeping line. In addition, the A-Class is fitted with dynamic side sill panels. At the rear, the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class reveals a cordial interplay between convex and concave surfaces and edges. Continuing the line of the muscular shoulders are horizontally oriented tail lights that also highlight the width of the A-Class.

These taillights – which could be powered optionally by fiber-optic cables and LED modules – boast of a surface finish that does not only make it more elegant, but also improves the airflow around the car with its defined airflow break-away edges.

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