Mercedes-Benz to launch coupe, SUV versions of new compact car in the U.S.

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 31, 2011

For the U.S. market in the next three years, Mercedes-Benz will launch coupe and SUV versions of its new compact car family. The carmaker is considering offering a third variant, which could either be a convertible or a shooting brake, aimed at the younger consumers.

In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes' global sales and marketing boss, said that the company has in development at least four models based on its new Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture (MFA).

Schmidt said that Mercedes-Benz is prepared to introduce the next generation of the MFA family to the U.S. and that there would be two or three variants.

A source said that the coupe is set to be launched in summer 2013 in the U.S. This coupe is dubbed by insiders as a "baby CLS" since it is similarly styled to the brand's larger CLS coupe-styled four-door model.

And in the summer of 2014, Mercedes-Benz will be releasing an SUV that will go up against the BMW X1. These two variants will start selling in Europe three to five months before their launch in the U.S. The consumers’ growing preference for smaller vehicles is what prompted Mercedes to introduce compact cars in the U.S. as it aims to keep up with rivals BMW and Audi.

Mercedes' current A- and B-class models, which are not available in the U.S., will be replaced by the new compact car family. At the end of 2011, Mercedes will launch the next-generation B class hatchback in Europe.

This will be followed by the A class hatchback in late summer 2012. Mercedes currently doesn’t plan on selling these two MFA variants in the U.S. but if it sees a demand, it might just do so.

The source said that typically, the U.S. isn’t the market for the compact hatchback but as long as there’s a clamor for the two variants, Mercedes could introduce them in the U.S. “far quicker than in the past." [via autonews - sub. required]

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